Apollo Bay’s boundary pushing arts, feast and music festival, WinterWild returns this August with the theme “Visions and Ecstasies” exploring the fringe states of body and mind that result in the ecstatic and the blissful. WinterWild is known for its nocturnal program of extravagant fireside performances, epic feasts and music, but 2019 presents a full daytime workshop program. Drumming, meditation, ice bathing, mind and body workshops and discussion panels on sacred plant medicines are all among this year’s offerings.
At the centrepiece are two epic journeys in Pathways, a carefully curated 10 hours of spiritual and physical work starting at 7am each Saturday. But there’s a catch: participants don’t know what they are getting when they purchase a ticket. They must surrender, and simply choose between one of two available Pathways – seeking love, light and union with the divine, or seeking to celebrate the darker powers of body, mind and spirit? This program is only available to a small group of 25 ($399 + booking fee)
The WinterWild evening program kicks off as darkness descends with the festival’s flagship event, DogWatch, a free public performance between 6-8pm featuring evening street parades, performances and beach bonfires. This year Part 1: “Immolation” will be held on Saturday August 17th, followed by Part 2 on Saturday August 30th: “Resurrection”, a visceral and electric performance including Snuff Puppets.
Festival goers can immerse themselves in psychedelic rock at the local Mechanics Institute, gorge themselves at Feastiality, groove in darkness at a seaside dance party or drop into gigs at one of the town’s two pubs. Music performances include Otologic, Salvador Darling, Seagull, MANTRA, DJ Kiti, Flyying Colours, The Fillmore Brothers, Los Borrachos (Canada) and an Apollo Bay debut performance by baroque musician, Max Riebl in Alchemy.
Leading Australian food writer, author and raconteur Richard Cornish explores umami in The Delicious Bond – Tastes of the Region at the Great Ocean Road Brewhouse (31 August 3pm. $15 + booking fee).
Out of the smoke emerges Feastiality with chef Peter Ford for the feast of the year that pays homage to the Chinese Year of the Pig with a spit roasted animal and a selection of charcuterie, paired with local eel. Entertainment will be from the Snuff Puppets, followed by the subversive burlesque of Janelle Da Silva and friends. Apollo Bay Foreshore and Mechanics Institute (31 August 8pm. $120 + booking fee).
WinterWild’s Director Roderick Poole believes the key to the festival’s success is Apollo Bay itself. Three hours from Melbourne, it’s a small town of just 1600 souls surrounded by deep rainforest and wild ocean. “It’s just a different world out here in winter. You can connect with nature’s wilder side, and really explore your hidden and darker self. That’s what we’re all doing here, anyway.” Leave your normal life behind and experience WinterWild.
Discover a side of Apollo Bay you don’t often see. WinterWild asks you to see the town as locals see it when all the visitors have left in winter: dark, wild and raw. Take a plunge into the sacred or the profane at WinterWild this August.