The Byron Surf Festival Is On This Weekend 26th-28th of Feb
Here’s a quick chat with festival director, James McMillan, explaining everything you need to know.
Stab: Question one, are you keeeeeeeding me, Jimmy?
James McMillan: (Laughter)Na, not kidding mate. It’s happening. I don’t even know how I got it to happen man with all the COVID rules and that. It’s so annoying. But we got there man. We only decided in December and we just thought let’s just do it. Let’s just bring everyone out and do a couple of days, have a bit of fun, and go surfing. Just pull all the things together and do something for the community basically.
What can we expect from this year’s festival?
In the surf event on Saturday, the Wategos’ Wizards, Australia’s top log wizards will be there like the Waxhead (Matt Chojnacki) plus a bunch of other guys from Noosa, the Northern Beaches and the Byron crew. Lauren Hill is coming out for the women’s part, the Mermaids.
The program runs from the Friday night with the official opening at the theatre. We’ve got the Girls Can’t Surf film, which looks amazing. We’re doing a Q&A with Jodie Cooper and Pauline Menczer. Lauren Hill will be doing that. That’s huge. So stoked. Those girls are legends.
A Life of Endless Summers: The Bruce Brown Story, we’ve got the Australian Premiere of that. That’s was made by Bruce’s son, Dana. I’m looking forward to checking out that. Dick Hoole will be introducing that, which will be classic. He knew Bruce personally.
We’ve got the welcome to country with Delta Kay to welcome everyone into Bundjalung country. We’ve got Feeling Billy Otto live from tomorrow night and a bunch of short films from Pure Scot Dr Bronners, Patagonia and others.
Saturday we’ve got the Wategos’ Wizards, the surf contest. And Saturday night we’ve got Dear Doonan from up there near Noosa, they’ll play at Woodies. They’re so good. I love their music. They’ve got that real middle eastern influence in it, psychedelic, middle Eastern, rock yoga.
What’s your festival all about?
When I asked myself what’s it all about? I wrote ‘Surf Culture Now.’ I wanted to keep it as close to what surf culture is every year, which is evolving. I guess the surf culture we try and present through the surf festival is an inclusive creative mindful surf culture, which is surfing, art, music, film, and we always have a voice for the environment in there somewhere.
How do we be a part of it?
Just rock into town. It’s pretty hard because there’s limited tickets to everything and a few of the things have already sold out. There’s still tickets to The Bruce Brown Film (A Life of Endless Summers: The Bruce Brown Story). And then just come down to beach Saturday and Sunday.
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