Nightjar Festival levels up: Introducing ‘The Series’ – a festival of music, roving entertainment, food and design

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Nightjar Festival levels up: Introducing ‘The Series’ – a festival of music, roving entertainment, food and design

Words by Tammy Walters

Thursdays & Fridays in Torquay are about to come alive with Nightjar Festival's 2024 triumphant return and revolution.

Nightjar Festival had been a fixture of the Surf Coast events calendar with summer nights elevated by the incredible food, drink, artisan buys and entertainment on offer. That was until the pandemic abruptly shut down the industry. The iconic event has been sadly missed for the last four years. 

In good news though, Nightjar Festival will make a triumphant return in the summer of 2024 with a revised post-COVID structure and expanded entertainment program. CEO and Event Promoter, Lyndelle Flintoft, says the change comes out of necessity to ensure continued success in a new environment and to create a sustainable event that can return for many years to come.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

“We look forward to continuing to be an integral part of the community, bringing everyone together to experience a festival of music, roving entertainment, food and design.

“In addition to Nightjar Festival, we’re offering a bigger program including the Surf Coast Design Exchange Markets and One Last Night, which is a fully licensed, small-capacity music event, which is all about musical excellence,” she says. 


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The general program at the Torquay Common location has undergone a makeover with the music festival now operating across two weeks, Thursday 4 and Friday 5 January, and Thursday 11 and Friday 12 January, respectively. Whilst the focus of the festival has always been about good food, showcasing emerging local talent and quality stallholders, this year the festival is levelling up. 

“Music is a leveller, it brings strangers together to dance and laugh. We love music and it’s always been a big part of Nightjar. This year, we wanted to focus on the music, but also the quality of stallholders, the quality of foodies and roaming acts and the offering to the community. We have lots of roving performers, free face painting, welcome to country and a free silent disco. There’s going to be so much for people to do once they enter through the gates. We also have a selection of DJs in one of the bars, serving up the local beer from the talented brewers at Blackman’s Brewery. As always, the core of the festival is to support a connected, inclusive community,” says Flintoft. 

 “The festival has grown over the past 15 years but at the core, we’re there as an outlet for the community” 

A change is the introduction of pre-event ticketing to mitigate high traffic demands experienced at the entrance. There will be an express lane for ticket holders, that will get them into the event super quick! As a bonus, there will be some amazing prizes that will be up for grabs for ticket holders. 

The festival has two boutique licenced areas supporting Great Ocean Road Gin, Flowstate Brewers & Distillers & Blackman’s Brewery. “People have been calling [for Nightjar] to be fully licensed, however, we have resisted this as we know that there are lots of parents that drop their teenagers off who have their independence as a teenager at a festival. I mean that’s a huge part of it for us, — that it is a community event that’s inclusive to everybody.” They have found a happy medium by designing specific zones for drinking and not focusing on alcohol consumption. 


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As aforementioned, the festival has partnered with the Ballarat event, The Design Exchange, running during the general program intermission on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 January. The standalone event is also a brainchild of Flintoft, showcasing the works of Australia’s inspiring, diverse and independent designers, artists and creators. 

“The Design Exchange started at the same time as Nightjar Festival 15 years ago. It’s Ballarat’s premium design event coming to Torquay under the big top. We’ll have eight food trucks, it’s a $5 entry, and the big focus is on design with creatives coming from many states all over Australia. There are workshops as well across both Saturday and Sunday.” 

With so much on offer for everyone, here’s a deeper look into the programming for each day.

Nightjar – Night One | Thursday 4 January 2023

Kicking off at 4.20pm is a Welcome To Country, followed by sets from locals Victoriana Gaye Trio and the surf sounds of South Atlas who have just released a new single ‘Moving Light’. Central Coast siblings Little Quirks will be making their way down for the festival off of the back of their Storm Like Me Tour, and to send off the first night, Yolngu artists and storyteller Yirrmal will bring his soulful voice to the big top.


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Nightjar – Night Two | Friday 5 January 2023

The second night is stacked with talent including the emerging rockers De Porsal, five-piece 60’s retro pop garage rock fusion Creature Fear, Butchulla Songmen’s Fred Leone, and rock ‘n’ roll rattlers Full Flower Moon Band. In a full circle moment, The Murlocs will return to their surf coast stomping ground 13 years after their inception playing in local bandrooms for what promises to be an explosive set.

The Design Exchange Surfcoast | Saturday 6 & 7 January 2023

Australia’s inspiring, diverse and independent designers, artists and creators come together at the Design Exchange for a day of exploration, education and exchange.

Nightjar – Night Three | Thursday 11 January 2023

This is not his first rodeo. No, Immy Owusu is a regular face of the Nightjar Festival. This year he joins Leah Senior Trio fresh from the Queenscliff Music Festival stage along with Steph Strings, Little Georgia, ‘Push Away The Blues’ belter Ash Grunwald, and Samoan/Australian rhythm superstar Bobby Alu.

Nightjar – Night Four | Friday 12 January 2023

They sadly left us for a while but the original Geelong rockers, The Hollow Majors, are back and in fine form. Opening the last night of the festival they will be cheered on by Melbourne’s Brooke Taylor, the country clutches of Leroy Macqueen, and high-energy alt-rockers CHAPERONE. ARIA and eight-time Golden Guitar-winning giant Fanny Lumsden will close out the epic official Nightjar Festival Program.

‘Don’t think it, just feel it’: Folklore weaver Fanny Lumsden returns with new album ‘Hey Dawn’

One Last Night | Saturday 13 January 2023

A high-calibre showcase of contemporary and experimental artists will come together for One Last Night, with the lineup to be released soon.

Nightjar Festival’s return is set to be a showstopper, cementing it as a significant mainstay for the Torquay and wider Geelong community.

Nightjar Festival – The Series 2024 takes place at Torquay Common, Surf Beach Drive, Torquay on January 4, 5, 11 & 12 2024. For tickets and more information, head here