Coming to Light at Horizon Festival

Image source: Contributed

Horizon Festival returns to illuminate the complex, interconnected stories of our communities through boundary-breaking arts and performance, as Georgia Beard discovers. 

With the full Horizon Festival program launching after IN Noosa Magazine is printed, we can only bring you a taste of what will be on offer during the 10-day extravaganza.

When Horizon Festival rises with the sun for its 8th Festival, light will fall upon the unknown faces of the Sunshine Coast. 

Voices, crowds, communities – those who have lingered too long in the shadows – now break their silence with creative and cultural expression. Their art creates deep-rooted connections to people and place, defying an increasingly divided and isolated society.

From Friday 25 August to Sunday 3 September, we’re immersing in each other’s lives with an innovative and contemporary arts program of storytelling, music, dance, theatre, visual art, installation and conversation. 

Local, national and international artists will ask and answer, comfort and confront, scandalise and spellbind on unexpected stages from the coast to the hinterland. 

Expect circus and cabaret extravaganzas; concerts, comedy and ceremony from Australian and First Nations voices; controversial dialogue about identity and relationships; unapologetic and illuminating art exhibitions; and interactive play and performance for families and kids. 

Pitching at the Festival Hub in Cotton Tree Park once again, Wonderland Spiegeltent captures the enchantment of travelling performances inside its swooping curtains and stained-glass windows. 

Alongside group conversations, comedy galas and a community dance battle, experience two grown-up circus shows of operatic and effervescent cabaret, titillating burlesque and heart-stopping acrobatics. 

Families can also immerse in their own circus escapade with the return of Circus Wonderland: A Neverland Adventure, bringing Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the Pirates to life with astounding acrobatics and antics!

Spreading out from the Festival Hub, food and drink, projection works, pop-up performances, live music from local performers and an augmented reality artwork trail are free for the whole family to enjoy. 

Feel a primal connection to rhythm as the Horizon Festival Drumming Band thumps out a captivating live score, featuring local drummers from all walks of life as part of a special opening weekend performance. We can’t say yet but it will part of a work from a national theatre company!

Gather on the banks of Stumers Creek, Coolum, and reflect on connection and culture with Kabi Kabi performers at the Dawn Awakening.

At the heart of every performance, exhibition and workshop is the desire for unity – the lifeblood of the Sunshine Coast. This year, Horizon Festival will bring other celebrations of local art into the fold, including Sunshine Sounds Festival, founded by Katie Noonan.

On Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September, this all-ages, family-friendly music festival puts homegrown artistry on stage with an all-Australian line-up at the Eumundi School of Arts Hall. 

Experience emerging and established musicians including some of Australia’s most prominent artists “and when Katie Noonan’s Eumundi School of Music rock band team up with headline acts, talented young artists find their place in the stage lights too!

Horizon Festival also goes back to our roots with Homegrown: The Forgotten Coast, commissioning experimental works from local artists across all art forms. 

After poking around abandoned buildings, dilapidated shop fronts and overgrown train tunnels, Horizon returned from their search with three projects reactivating forgotten spaces on the Sunshine Coast. 

The Blak Laundry by Dominique Chen and Libby Harward invites us into a functional coin-operated laundromat with our dirty linen. As we engage in critical conversation, collaboration and celebration of all things blak, everything comes out in the wash.

Choregraphed by Chloe Keating, Labyrinth is a dance theatre work performed in three historical bookshops on the Sunshine Coast – a story unfolding in a journey across the region. 

Nicole Voevodin-Cash and Teddy Horton shine a light on the unseen and unknown artworks of manufacturers in one of our most invisible neighbourhoods, Kunda Park. In Where to From Here, photography and projections tell the stories of these artisans hidden within their industrial estate. 

As boundary-breaking events light up the region, Horizon Festival reflects the Sunshine Coast in all our diversity, eccentricity and vulnerability. It’s a celebration of soul-baring we need now more than ever. 

There’s so much more to the program that we can’t say so set your alarms to view the complete Horizon Festival program when it launches on Thursday 15 June at 9am and view it online at 

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