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20 April, 2021

Passport to Airlie: Airlie Beach Festival of Music

Passport to Airlie returns this year and enthusiastic Mackay musicians can enter to show their amazing range of songs.

By Andrew Sorensen

'Passport to Airlie' is Australia's largest live original music initiative, with successful artists gaining an invite to have their name on the bill and perform at Airlie Beach Festival of Music.

Entries are already coming in from around the country as hosts scour their local music scene for live, original talent.

The event has been running as an integral part of the festival since 2013 and pre-Covid numbers saw over 300 acts participate each year in events right across Australia.

These events culminate in a representative artist from each region given the rare opportunity to perform in paradise at a major music festival and they can apply here today!

Passport to Airlie will have nine locations in 2021: Cairns, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin, allowing for a broad range of genres, participants and audiences to come together.

Heats run from June until September in a three-month celebration of live and original music around the country, with one band / artist chosen from each location receiving accommodation and VIP tickets to the festival in November.

The Thursday night of the festival, all regional representatives will perform at the Passport Showcase event in front of celebrity and industry judges to determine one winner to be announced on the Main Stage on the Sunday afternoon of the festival.
Passport to Airlie is the largest event of its kind to offer free artist entry and place emphasis on original music, with participants required to have three-quarters of their set be originals.

Along with the opportunity to perform in paradise, the competition provides opportunity, exposure and industry experience and support for artists through regional events.

"I wanted to create a festival where you could see the classic rock bands and hear the songs we grew up with, and at the same time discover new talent and give them a chance," Promoter Gavin 'Butto' Butlin said.

"Airlie Beach is the ideal setting for the festival with its relaxed vibe. You can walk between all the bars and restaurants in town, enjoy the gorgeous weather, have a drink, make new friends and listen to an awesome variety of good music."

Despite the wrath of Covid-19, organisers of the Airlie Beach Festival of Music were proud to confirm its return to the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef this year, from Thursday November 4 to Sunday, November 7.

To celebrate the announcement that it’s ‘all systems go’, the festival is releasing a limited number of early bird tickets for a one-off low price of $275 until April 29 only. With just 2000 tickets available overall this year, the festival is sure to be a sell-out.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer, Tash Wheeler said the Passport to Airlie is a wonderful initiative to showcase talented, up and coming artists in what can only be described as one of Australia’s most iconic locations.

“The Airlie Beach Festival of Music is back in a big way this year and the Passport to Airlie has everyone very excited already, you never know where or when you might find the next big star.” Ms Wheeler said.

 “With a limited amount of tickets for this year’s event, you don’t want to miss out on the magic of live music, right here in The Whitsundays, the Heart of Events."

With its idyllic waterfront setting in the grounds of the Whitsunday Sailing Club, and across the tropical township of Airlie Beach, there is no other music festival in Australia or globally quite like the Airlie Beach Festival of Music.

As international travel still off the cards, this is a rare opportunity for Australians to experience something truly unique in their own backyard.

Previous festivals have featured headline acts like John Butler, James Reyne, 10 CC, Smokie, Kasey Chambers, Diesel, Killing Heidi and Sneaky Sound System to name just a few.

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