BIG PRAISE: Killing Heidi were among crowd favourites at the Airlie Beach Festival of Music.
BIG PRAISE: Killing Heidi were among crowd favourites at the Airlie Beach Festival of Music. Monique Preston

Airlie Beach Festival of Music dubbed 'best festival yet'

THIS year's Airlie Beach Festival of Music has been hailed "the best festival yet” by the organiser.

Festival founder Gavin Butlin was pleased with the three-day event which attracted 5000 people to the main tent throughout the weekend. Others attended venues scattered throughout the town.

"It was amazing. The best festival yet,” Mr Butlin said.

The success comes despite the lead singer of the final festival headline act pulling out after playing only one song on Sunday night.

US chart topper Smash Mouth started the final set with its hit song Can't Get Enough Of You Baby, but shortly afterwards lead singer Steve Harwell became ill and left the stage.

It was then that history was made as several of the headline acts came together as the "Airlie Beach All Stars”.

Comprising Nicky Bomba of the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, rock 'n' roll legends Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde, and members of the Smash Mouth band, the All Stars brought the house down.

Mr Butlin said the crowd's reaction to the impromptu band was phenomenal.

"We had people telling us how privileged they felt to be treated to something so unique,” he said.

"It says a lot about the professionalism of these acts, who we can't thank enough.”

Bomba said the act's success was a testament to the fellowship of musicians and Airlie Beach Festival of Music crowd.

"It was great that we were able to come together and celebrate the joy of music, while helping Butto and making it work at the same time,” he said.

Despite Sunday night's problem, Mr Butlin said he was happy with how the festival went as a whole.

"Each year it is getting a little bit better,” he said.

He was full of praise for some of the big acts, as well as the more home-grown musical talent.

"The Melbourne Ska Orchestra was probably one of the best sets we have (ever) seen at the festival,” he said.

Mr Butlin was also impressed with The Ted Mulry Gang, Marcia Hines, Killing Heidi, Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde.

He said local group Kieran McCarthy Band and Rockhampton's Innocent Eve were also hits.

He also praised those who helped pull the festival together and made sure it ran as smoothly as possible.

He had special thanks for the 60 volunteers who he described as "unbelievable”.

"They put their heart and soul into it,” he said.

Whitsunday police were also happy with how the festival ran.

Police praised patrons and said there were minimal disturbances at the event.


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