New night festival for popular Sunshine Coast street

EXCITED: Wayne McFetridge and Bronwyn Buksh, of Maroochydore Revitalisation Association, say Duporth Lights will help breathe new life into Duporth Ave.
EXCITED: Wayne McFetridge and Bronwyn Buksh, of Maroochydore Revitalisation Association, say Duporth Lights will help breathe new life into Duporth Ave. John McCutcheon

A NEW night festival will light up Duporth Ave buildings with art projections, bringing a Melbourne tradition to the Sunshine Coast.

Inspired by the Gertrude St Projection Festival, the free Duporth Lights street festival will see huge images on the side of buildings, animations jump out from inside empty shops and moving pictures on the footpath and road.

The Maroochydore Revitalisation Association says Duporth Ave has the perfect ingredients for a thriving night festival and it's planning to launch the first one next July.

The three-night winter event will celebrate the Coast and its artists, while luring locals out to appreciate what downtown Maroochydore has to offer at night.

"We've been planning it for a while - it's part of broadening the art and cultural experiences of the precinct,” MRA executive manager Bronwyn Buksh said.

She said businesses on Duporth Ave had been clamouring for more events to celebrate their neck of the woods.

"We've spent a lot of energy on Ocean St ... but we've always intended to put more energy into Duporth Ave.”

In line with the 50-year anniversary of the naming of the Sunshine Coast, the first Duporth Lights theme will show images looking back over the last 50 years, the present and future.

"It'll encourage the Sunshine Coast to get out in winter which we're not great at doing,” , Ms Buksh said.

"It'll be in buildings that are empty, so we'll be able to activate spaces that way by getting people to see some of these places.”

She said the atmosphere the festival would create would be a first for the Coast.

"There's unexpected things in unexpected places.

"It's about finding the unexpected and being taken down a little spot. It'll be very interactive.”

She agreed it would be a big coordination effort between the building owners, artists and other stakeholders but was confident it would come together as smoothly as every other MRA event had.

The organisation runs regular festivals including the monthly Nights on Ocean and the annual Ocean St World Festival.

"We're planning on getting some big name art projectionists to attract the crowds but we also see this as a mentoring opportunity for people who have always wanted to have their work out in the public realm,” Ms Buksh said.

"There'll be local but also bringing people in from out of town if we need to.”

Ms Buksh said she hoped the festival would become an annual event and could even be extended to include First Ave once the new Maroochydore city centre was built.

"I think it could end up going all the way up First Ave to the new city centre over time.

"In 10 years' time, if it keeps happening every year, it could become a really lovely boulevard.”

Topics:  maroochydore revitalisation association

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