WinterWild – Apollo Bay July – August 2017

Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires – William Shakespeare

The Story

we of the Otways
we’re on the edge here
the edge of a continent
we look out into a salty vastness
we look into the abyss
we look
we look
we don’t look away
we take it on
we face it down
we overcome

there are sights that make us gasp
the skies
the sunsets
the towering trees
the breaking waves

they can all be brought down
all destroyed
all brought to earth

we know disasters
ships wrecked
trees broken
and the fires there even if they’re not

but we know wonder
a whale breaching
the water falling
shoots of green

and come closer
beneath the leaves here
a mushroom budding there
in the stream
a fallen feather
wonder need not be vast

Embrace the elements of the southern Otways when a new after-dark festival sparks up next month: the first WinterWild will revel in the untamed side of Apollo Bay. Don’t look away.

Inspired by the journey of Apollo Bay’s history – the 18+ festival takes place over four weekends in Winter and explores each of the elements of Water (July 1 – 2), Earth (July 15 – 16), Air (July 29 – 30) and Fire (August 12 – 13).


Water: Mick Turner (Dirty Three), Horns of Leroy, Sand Pebbles, screening of cult 90s surf film Litmus with presentation by director Andrew Kidman)

Wave Splashing In Sea

Earth: Butoh performer Yumi Umiumare, Tek Tek Ensemble, Tosca (EmotionWorks)



Date: Saturday 15th July, 8.00pm
Gig: Earth at The Mech with EmotionWorksTek Tek EnsembleOctober Wish
Location: The Mechanics Institute, Apollo Bay
Tickets: Book Now
Price: $75 + booking fee


Japanese born Yumi Umiumare is the creator of original Butoh Cabaret works, and Australia’s only Japanese Butoh Dancer. Originally a member of the seminal Butoh Company DaiRakudakan in Tokyo, she came to Australia to perform at the Melbourne International Festival in 1991. Yumi has been creating and teaching her distinctive style of works over the last 20 years and her works have received critical acclaim and garnered her and her collaborators several Australian Green Room awards.

Yumi’s works are renowned for provoking visceral emotions, cultural identities with humour and they have been seen in numerous festivals in dance, theatre and film productions throughout Australia, Japan, East and West Europe, New Zealand and South East Asia. Through her diverse skills and unique aesthetics as a choreographer, she has also extensively worked in socially engaged theatre productions with aboriginal communities, culturally diverse communities and ESL groups, women from the sex industry and also people who have recovered from gambling addictions.


Yumi will perform at as part of The Mech and Wild Wood at Earth: 15 – 16 July, 2017Purchase tickets.

In advance of  her performance at Earth: 15 – 16 July, 2017, Yumi will also run a dance workshop as part of Water: 1 – 2 July, 2017.  Suitable for every dance level – beginners to more accomplished dancers and physical performers – the workshop will provide a unique opportunity to work with this hugely respected artist. Participation is free.

Young woman sitting by bonfire on beach


Air: Programmed by the Apollo Bay Writer’s Festival, including Michael Leunig, Clementine Ford, Arnold Zable and Emily Zoe Baker


Scenic View Of Sea Against Sky During Sunset

Fire: Massed choir of 100 singers, ritual burning of festival sculpture, live music

People Surrounded By Lit Bonfire Against Clear Sky At Night

When the sun-seeking, shell-collecting crowds have deserted the place where the forest meets the sea, Apollo Bay is “less Summer Bay, more Deadwood”, said festival director Roderick Poole.  “If you’re going to have a festival in Apollo Bay in winter there is no point hiding from the elements. We like it dark and wild, a little bit dirty,” he said. “We’re not afraid to face the wind, the rain, the big waves and the mud.”


One of Victoria’s most visited tourist destinations is taking the aftermath of destruction and transforming it into creation. After the 2015 Christmas Day fires burnt a light on the horizon, the Colac Otway shire was closed and the economies of its coastal communities ground to a halt.  Out of the support offered by Regional Development Victoria to boost the economy, the shire will rise from the ashes – building a winter festival that showcases the best Apollo Bay has to offer.


Each of the four Saturday nights of the festival will kick off around a large bonfire on the beach contained within room-sized, artist-built braziers. The night’s main festivities then move into the Mechanics Hall, but the town will buzz around it with roving performers, outdoor film projections, bands in pubs and jams around the bonfire.


“This festival won’t be for the faint-hearted,” said Poole. “It is very much aimed at adventurous spirits ready to take on a challenge; to embrace the harsh environment and celebrate the beauty of the elements at their extremes.”


Buy Mech tickets for WinterWild Water on July 1 & 2 and you’re up for a shot at two nights at Captains at the Bay. Captains are right in the heart of town and an easy stroll into WinterWild. Prize includes 2 nights accommodation plus a full country breakfast on both mornings of your stay. Buy your tickets before June 19 and share this post for a chance at the prize.

July first is our opening night and tickets buy you a big four hours of cinema and music in The Mech

(Check out the Mech Program here: There’s heaps of other great stuff happening around town as well: bonfires, dance, harbourside performance and more, which you can explore here:

We’re nearly there! WinterWild 2017: Don’t Look Away


WinterWild 2017

July 1-2, July 15-16, July 29-30, August 12-13


Tickets available now:



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