Toni Childs enthralls the crowd.
Toni Childs enthralls the crowd.

Stars rockin’ Airlie Beach

THEY came, they saw and they rocked Airlie Beach.

From pop to rock to reggae and blues, every genre but modern dance music was covered by the 74 bands and over 200 musicians playing the Airlie Beach Festival of Music over the weekend.

To say the town's been pumping would be the proverbial understatement - it's been a living, breathing "bohemian rhapsody", with live music reverberating from almost every main street venue and plenty more on the fringes over the three and-a-half day event.

On the main stage in a big top tent outside the Whitsunday Sailing Club, headline acts like The Black Sorrows, Angry Anderson and Wendy Matthews regaled the crowds.

Black Sorrows front man Joe Camilleri brought his A-game to the stage on Friday night and Toni Childs scored a "crowd moment" when she persuaded the audience to sit on the ground and "tune in" with her on Saturday. Although her set list of many unknown songs left those hankering for her greatest hits a little disappointed, for those that stayed to the end it was an emotional way to wrap up the day.

The undisputed festival kings were 10cc, who literally brought the house down with their finale set including the iconic songs Rubber Bullets and Dreadlock Holiday.

Festival promoter Gavin "Butto" Butlin said the exact number of ticket sales was yet to be confirmed, but he estimated the crowd at about 2500 people over the weekend.

As for his personal highlights, "The Black Sorrows were awesome", he said.

"And 10cc. I cried, I got goose bumps - it was amazing. I couldn't think of a better way to end the festival - every single person in that tent was on their feet screaming."

Mr Butlin thanked everyone involved in the festival, from the sponsors, to the volunteers to the crowds. He also said he was very pleased with the way the crowds had behaved.

"There was no dramas - the police were stoked - not one person got in trouble from the festival," he said.

"All the musicians behaved themselves and I've had tonnes of feedback from people saying it was the best festival they'd ever been to - and that was people from all over Australia who want to see it back next year."


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