WA’s Best Events to Put a Hold on Hibernation
Put a hold on hibernation with Cabin Fever, and four other autumn/winter festivals in and around Margaret River.
Home to a whole lot more than world-class wine and surf, Western Australia’s south west corner also hosts some of the most anticipated music and arts festivals. Drive three hours to Dunsborough or Margaret River to find WA’s thriving music, arts, and literary scene, showcased in one of the most pristine settings in the country. Away from the bustle of Perth city, you’ll find roving brass bands under Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, bonfires in the bush, and latte art smack downs (not familiar? Well read on for more on that).
Nannup Music Festival
1st-4th March, Nannup
Celebrating its 30th year, Nannup Music Festival came from small beginnings. Armed with tiny budget, a few volunteers gathered to create a festival with a community feel, that would go on to celebrate the best local talent. Set on the banks of the Blackwood River, festival goers camp under the eucalypt trees. This year, they’ll be serenaded by some of WA’s best favourite musicians including Lucy Peach, Mathas, The Tommyhawks and Southern River Band. There’s plenty more to do during the day when the bands are gearing up to play, from meandering through market stalls, partaking in a dance workshop, or sitting in on a poetry slam.
Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival
3rd – 5th May, Margaret River
Set amidst idyllic wine and surf country, the three day Readers & Writers festival in Margaret River has earned its place as WA’s largest literary event. Going on its 11th year, the festival celebrates quality storytelling through a multi-dimensional program. There’ll be Q&As, author talks and interviews from an inspiring lineup of 40 novelists, journalists, poets, playwrights and photographers. Set in the award winning Voyager Estate Winery, you can exercise your own literary muscles with a writer’s workshop, or get involved in panel discussions and book signings from local and international authors.
Jazz by the Bay
31st May – 3rd June, Dunsborough
Good wine and jazz have been an age-old combination, but add to that Dunsborough’s salty, seafairing vibe and you’ve made a good thing even better. A breath of fresh air away from the city, Jazz by the Bay brings Perth’s best mix of traditional and contemporary jazz musicians, and places them in novel locations throughout the region. From an underground live music performance in Ngilgi Cave, a brass band playing at the foot of the Cape Naturalise Lighthhouse and a gig in Busselton’s heritage listed Weld Theatre. Running over four days, this year brings the new and anticipated addition of a jazz-inspired silent disco.
19th– 28th July, Margaret River
Warming up the cooler months with over 35 winter inspired events, Cabin Fever festival is a lighthearted ode to the finer things that the south west offers. Last year, it celebrated local and sustainable produce with a Harvest Lunch, and ‘A Tale of Terroirs’ degustation at Vasse Felix. While they’re serious about good food and wine, Cabin Fever isn’t haughty by any means. Think down-to-earth events like fondue and mulled wine by the fire, ‘latte art smackdowns’ and a brewing tournament at Brewhouse Margaret River. For the dilettante, there’s also plenty to partake in; from olive oil and sake masterclasses, to a burlesque dancing academy.
28th Aug — 1st September, Dunsborough
Growing steadily in prestige, CinefestOz is a five-day smorgasbord of events. All located in wineries, small bars, cinemas and galleries throughout the Dunsborough, Margaret River and Busselton region. Showcasing over 203 events, including a generous 80 free screenings, the festival celebrates the best French and Australian film. The red carpet gala night prizes the country’s best new films with the prestigious CinefestOz Screen Legend Award. Past precipitants include the likes of actor David Wenham (Lord of the Rings) and Gillian Armstrong (Little Women). Stay up to date with this year’s guest appearances here.