The full program for this year’s Grafton Jacaranda Festival has been launched with a brand new look and line up to ensure it will be the biggest and best in its 85 year history.
The 10 day event is the oldest floral festival in Australia and growing as an interstate and international tourist destination.
Festival Manager Mark Blackadder says the fresh approach doesn’t stray from the well-established format of the event, but rather streamlines and enhances it for the growing visitor market.
“The Grafton Jacaranda Festival has a legacy in its floral tribute and crowning of the Queens, but it’s also evolving into an arts and cultural event that showcases the best of the region as well as drawing in interstate and international acts,” Mr Blackadder says.
Entertainment will include a huge musical line up with the iconic JACKAROC all-day festival and The McClymonts acoustic night, as well as the traditional Queen crowning, Retrofest, and float procession.
Australia’s only male burlesque review, Club Briefs, will also be performing on the back of their sell out U.K tour with a wild romp of disco dancing, circus, and variety featuring a hand-picked selection of guests from across the world of queer cabaret.
Mr Blackadder says the first weekend of the festival will be huge, starting with The Caringa Ball on Friday 25 October.
“While the main marque is sold out we’ve opened up more tickets in the Garden Party which includes a gourmet grazing table, access to the Volkers Bar, and of course a huge dance floor to enjoy the live music,” he says.
“Saije, a multi-instrumental folk duo whose soulful harmonies will provide music during dinner, while Grafton’s own festival circuit favourites The Ninth Chapter will ply their trademark heavy groove with thumping horns to provide the perfect soundtrack for dancing.
“The Caringa Ball and Garden Party is all about community spirit and reinvigoration so to have so many people wanting to attend shows us an incredible amount of support for what we stand for.”
The town’s Market Square is the focus for the weekend with the Queen crowning, taking place on Saturday night and the ever-popular Retrofest showing off all things vintage on Sunday.
Jacaranda Thursday promises to be the biggest for decades featuring a free breakfast in the morning and three stages throughout the city running talent contests, best dressed competitions, and music by the Col Finley Band, Big River Rockers, D’Boyzos, Heckle and Jive and the Big River Blues Band. The day will be topped off by an acoustic concert with Grafton’s own country music trio The McClymonts at the Saraton Theatre.
The final weekend kicks off with a day of culture in Market Square on Friday and the return of JACAROK at the Memorial Park River Stage on Saturday in conjunction with the festival’s RiverFEAST, providing over 11 hours of local and diverse music across two stages. Ten bands will perform on the main stage including Red Bee from the Blue Mountains, Joe Terror from Melbourne, along with Grafton’s Jayden Hebbard, Ryan Enns from Yamba with his folk rock outfit The Moonshiners and female rockers Salt and Steel.