THE APOLLO BAY MUSIC FESTIVAL WAS LAUNCHED IN 1992 AS A VOLUNTEER BASED NOT-FOR-PROFIT ASSOCIATION. IT WAS LED BY AN ENTHUSIASTIC AND PASSIONATE COMMUNITY WHO LOVE MUSIC AND WANTED TO CREATE A DYNAMIC CULTURAL EVENT FOR THEIR MAGNIFICENT AND ISOLATED TOWNSHIP.
Nineteen years on, it is still facilitated by a small and dedicated Committee of Management who volunteer their time and expertise. Many have been associated with the festival since its inception. Research indicates that more than 90% of patrons travel for more than 1.5 hrs to the Festival and that the 2010 Festival generated more than $7M into the local economy.
The Apollo Bay Music Festival’s is firmly on the map as a major annual tourist and community event for Apollo Bay and a significant Festival for Victoria. Over the years it has also established itself as a highly regarded Festival throughout Australia and on the international circuit.
The Festival continues to develop a growing Melbourne, interstate and international audience, attracting a multi-age group attendance of families, couples through to retirees. The Festival is the single biggest drawcard for visitors to Apollo Bay over the one weekend attracting on average 4500-5000 ticket holders and a further 3000 who partake in free activities along the foreshore.
The diversity of the programming attracts new and emerging audiences, along with established followers. Excellence, variety and surprise are all key ingredients to the program. More than seventy acts across eleven venues are presented over the three day event, utilising appropriate partner-licensed and non-licensed venues, combined with two large marquee stages along the foreshore. The Festival prides itself in producing a safe and festive environment and is conscious of these factors in its program delivery.
Future festivals will continue to build upon it’s reputation for presenting a dynamic program of national and international performers in a variety of genres including Jazz, Blues, Roots, Classical, Pop/Rock, Jazz World and Country as well as it’s commitment to innovative and popular special events.
The Festival is recognized for programming headline acts as well as discovering emerging artists. Although music is the focus, the Festival programs multi art forms including theatre, literature, film, comedy and dance.
Artists who have performed at the Apollo Bay Music Festival over the years include The John Butler Trio, Tiddas, Kasey Chambers, You Am I, Bob Brozman, The Whitlams, Eddi Reader, Robyn Hitchock with REM’s Peter Buck, Scott McAughey & Bill Rieflin, Tex Perkins, The Australian Art Orchestra, Joe Camileri, Kate Miller-Heidke, The Whitlams, Vince Jones, Jimmy Little, Karma County, Flacco & The Sandman and The Choir of Hard Knocks… just to name an eclectic few.
Recent awards include The 2009 Regional Arts Victoria Contemporary Cultural Development [RAVE] Award and 2008 Powercor Special Event|Festival of The Year Award.
With a strong commitment to its region, the Festival actively works with community groups during the year to foster artistic development and proudly showcases these talents during the event.
The Apollo Bay Music Festival is set in a backdrop of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, one of the most scenic coastlines in Australia. In 2010 the Festival continued its carbon offset program, with the help of the Southern Otway Landcare Network and Landcare CarbonSMART. All carbon emissions generated through the running of the Festival were offset in plantings of biodiverse native forest, located along the Great Ocean Road, in the Southern Otways. These carbon offset plantings are verified by Landcare CarbonSMART and they meet Kyoto protocols. Whilst offsetting the Festival’s emissions, they also provide important habitat for native fauna and protection of our waterways. A contribution from ticket sales funds this project.
The region boasts significant activities to enhance the visitor experience. Alliances are growing in their support and understanding of a co-operative marketing approach towards the event. Seasonal factors are important and complimentary to plans with the event being held in Autumn.
Apollo Bay is a three hour drive from Melbourne and located between Lorne and Cape Otway on the Great Ocean Road. Driving via the Great Ocean Road, it is one and a half hours from Anglesea and one hour from Lorne. Driving inland from Geelong via Deans Marsh, it is a similar distance.
Alongside swimming and surf beaches, Apollo Bay has a large boat harbour which is home to a major fishing fleet. The town’s commercial centre, which features a good selection of restaurants, cafes and visitor services, is situated along one side of the Great Ocean Road, overlooking a wide, grassy foreshore which fronts the main swimming beach. Another popular beach is located at the mouth of the Barham River in Mounts Bay. Apollo Bay’s beaches and marina are set in the backdrop of rolling green hills, a pretty foreshore and shopping precinct.