Festival's big line-up

By Nicola Kerkenezov

The Noosa Longweekend is shaping up to be big - biggest program, biggest ticket sales and biggest audience ever.

Organisers report that the 10-day festival, which kicks off on Friday, is all on track with tickets still available for top acts including John Bell in Moby Dick, cabaret performer Caroline O'Connor in concert at Berardo's, David Williamson, and much more.

Big name program heavyweights - including literary export Clive James - are expected to arrive in town from Thursday to take part in over 100 events ranging from drama, music, literature, forums, visual arts, fashion, film, gourmet, and environment performances.

Longweekend committee member Rowland Hill said ticket sales were expected to reach more than 7000 this week and urged people to secure their seats for the best of this unmatched regional festival.

"This event is about building Noosa's branding, showing people that it is more than just a beach and surfing town," he said.

"And there are some terrific people attending world and international class."

While festival highlights are set to be numerous, Mr Hill said there were a few keynote acts that should not be missed.

"John Bell is one of the world's finest actors and will be giving his second showing of the play Moby Dick," Mr Hill said.

"Caroline O'Connor, who is coming out especially from London, is also a world-class actor and singer who has starred in Chicago, Moulin Rouge and De-Lovely.

"And the amazing Floating Land art exhibition is back again hosted by the Noosa Regional Gallery."

Other highlights will be the topical Islam Forum on Sunday, June 24, focusing on Us and Them: The Media and Islam; and author and mountaineer Lincoln Hall who will recall his dramatic story of survival in the Death Zone of Mount Everest. The Velvet Tongue spoken-word show will be an eye-opener at The J on June 19.

In addition to the paid program events, there are free shows including music at The Festival Club, on most nights at The J, and film highlights from the 2006 Heart of Gold Film Festival on Tuesday, June 19, and Saturday, June 23, at The J.

For kids there's a free Teddy Bear's Picnic at Gympie Terrace, Noosaville, on Sunday, June 24, from 9.30am.


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