With only a few weeks to go until Geelong’s waterfront is transformed into an entertainment hub, the annual festival has played a key part in the Victorian and Australian yachting calendar since 1844.
As one of Australia’s oldest sporting events, the Royal Geelong Yacht Club’s Festival of Sails is also a favourite among the country’s sailors, attracting more than 300 entries, 3,000 competitors and 100,000 visitors annually to Geelong to experience the event. It’s also incredibly competitive and diverse, the event caters to all levels of sailing from high performance racing machines to family cruisers.
Next year will mark the 175th regatta, which kicks off with the visually spectacular celebration of the Melbourne to Geelong Passage Race on Australia Day Friday, January 26, which organisers are expecting to be a bumper event, with entries already on track to exceed 300 for the 2018 event.
Alongside the world class sailing on Corio Bay, the Regatta Village precinct will again be a hub of activity for sailors and public alike, with entry to the area free for all patrons, although wristbands are required to enter the area after 5pm. This iconic Shoreside Festival is a drawcard of the Festival of Sails, creating a free community celebration that brings to life the Geelong Waterfront with market stalls, live music and entertainment, exciting food options such as gourmet food vans and the glittering spectacle of a waterfront fireworks display!
A highlight for us here at Forte is most definitely the live music program over the three days. Featuring legends such as Ross Wilson & The Peaceniks and Mental As Anything, the festival also boasts a range of Melbourne artists who will all perform at Regatta Village. This includes the likes of Daisy Kilbourne, Darcy Fox, Peter Chapman Band and Safari Motel who will provide the perfect soundtrack to the summer event.
A highlight for 2018 is a special performance from X-Factor Season four contestant Nathaniel Willemse at Steampacket Gardens, for a special tribute show to soul legend Marvin Gaye.
Alongside many other artists, the festival of course features the region’s favourite local musicians, including the esteemed Sweethearts, Craig & Georgia Sayer, The Mik Maks, Izzy Losi & The Auracles, Both Sides, Kieran T, Peter Chapman, Hey Mammoth and Andrea Marr & The Funky Hitmen.
Whether you are a sailor, or prefer your feet on more solid ground, this event provides something for everyone to enjoy, from thrilling sailing action, exciting on water activities for all to try, and a great way to spend quality time with your family over the Australia Day Long Weekend.
The festival runs from Friday 26th January 2018 to Sunday 28th January 2018.
Photo by Steb Fisher