Nightjar Festival

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Nightjar Festival

There are few events that can capture the imagination and hearts of the adventurous two-year-old right through to the art-loving 90-year-old, but NightJar Festival does, and has done so for six years now. What’s even more humbling is that NightJar still has its roots firmly planted in Torquay, where it all began.

The idea for the festival was sparked by Kyla Binton and Lyndelle Flintoft when they met at the Cowrie Market in Torquay. Both with a passion for all things creative, Lyndelle approached Kyla with the idea and the timing was perfect.

“The rest is history really,” Lyndelle laughs.

“Now in our 6th year, it has been an amazing venture with each of us being the yin to our yangs! Lucky really because we have to spend a lot of time together!”

Six years couldn’t have gone quicker, and the old saying of time flies when you’re having fun really ring trues for Kyla and Lyndelle’s partnership. Reasons for their chemistry could be the perfect balance of Kyla’s local knowledge from being a third-generation Torquay resident and Lyndelle’s experience abroad to soon settle in Torquay eight years ago – giving her a slightly different perspective.

Either way, with the words “Leave all your worries at the gate” plastered across the entrance, NightJar doesn’t try too hard to be anything in particular except a space to get along and share in great memories.

“We didn’t base Nightjar on any one single event, we chose aspects that we loved of design markets, music festivals & night markets and rolled them all into one,” Lyndelle says.

“We have both put a lot of passion and soul into the making of Nightjar and believe this shows through in all  aspects of the festival. We love that the festival is for teenagers, kids, older people, families, singles or couples. It has been adopted by everyone and everyone finds their own place there – it’s actually really amazing to see! Our sign on the front gate reads “Leave your worries at the gate” and that’s just what happens!”

Pair that with the markets namesake and album, the local Nightjar owlet, and it shows the festival couldn’t be more grounded, both literally and metaphorically. There’s even a large sculpture of the owlet looking over the festival grounds that’s been loving crafter by Kyla’s mother Claire Gittings.

Somehow, three years ago the duo managed to take everything about the Torquay market, aside from the seaside location, and bring it to Johnstone Park in the CBD.

“It was offered to us by The City of Greater Geelong after the Queen Victoria Market decided not to proceed with the event. We felt honoured that we had come recommended, however we had never even considered moving Nightjar into Geelong,” she says.

“With only a few months to organise it, it seemed like an impossible project! Then one day we just looked at each other and said, ‘What have we got to lose?!’ Well, beside sleep and our sanity! Now coming into our third year, it has been wonderful to watch the festival grow and take on an identity of its own. The Geelong community have been very supportive, we look forward to Friday nights in February, in Johnstone Park.”

As a result, Nightjar now has a two month run, moving from Thursday nights throughout January in Torquay to Friday nights in Geelong during February. In those two months, there are eight chances for local artists, musicians and performers to share their talents with the region.

Local business have also got involved in the weekly summer-time market, and this year saw Blackman’s Brewery, Jack Rabbit Vineyard, Moon Mother Productions and others lend a hand to the festival.

“On a whole the locals have been very supportive and we love that everyone from the seaside communities along the Surf Coast and Geelong have taken us under their wings and called us their own,” she says.

Lyndelle and Kyla have both shared many memories over the years, and currently halfway through another season, Lyndelle looks upon the time Killerfish Productions created a 30 second video (which can be found online) capturing the essence of the event as one of her favourite memories.

Exclamations of children of the festival being “another world” also spring to mind as highlights, but overall, looking back on eight years of work and two events is certainly a highlight in itself.

If you’d like to find out more information visit the website: The Geelong stint of the season is currently underway for the duration of February.

Written by Amanda Sherring

When & Where: The Geelong NightJar Festival will run each Friday in February at Johnstone Park from 4-10pm.