Weave through the grasslands at the Nightjar Festival in 2020

Weave through the grasslands at the Nightjar Festival in 2020

Is there a better way to spend a balmy summer evening than by heading to a night festival?

Ten years ago, Lyndelle Flintoft asked that exact question at the Cowrie Market in Torquay and the idea for the local festival came to light.

With a passion for all things creative and a clear vision for something great, Lyndelle made the dream a reality and created the unique, the spirited and lively NightJar Festival, which has since become a thriving, vibrant, colourful and eclectic mix of a night market, music festival and showcase for emerging designers, local producers, fair-trade importers and contemporary artists from all over Australia.

Creating the perfect destination to visit on a balmy summer evening for the past 10 years, complete with interactive art installations, the culinary delights, roving performers, buskers and a banging main stage, the rather wonderful NightJar Festival will once again do its thing again in Torquay and Geelong this summer.

Heaving with delicious food, great booze, avid people and very, very good vibes, the splendour begins in Torquay on Thursday nights in January, overlooking the sun setting across the ocean, before the team pull up pegs and move into Geelong for Friday nights in February – a more intimate festival yet full of life.

“Our tenth year is fast approaching and we are incredibly grateful to still be around,” beams festival director Lyndelle Flintoft. “A local company that employees locals, that through all the hard work and sometimes stressful moments we all still love bringing this event to life!

“We love evolving every year and our 10 year anniversary is no exception.”

With eight nights to capture the imagination and hearts of the adventurous two-year-old right through to the art-loving 90-year-old across the summer, NightJar gives local artists, musicians and performers the chance to share their talents with the region which has become a major drawcard of the annual event.

Kicking it all off in Torquay on January 2nd, the NightJar stage will come alive with opening performances from Victor Cripes, Tim Henshall, Leslie D. King & The Trembling Shakes, and Trickbox. If you missed the first edition it’s no stress because it all goes down again the next week (January 9th) with Anna Scionti, The Featherheads, Tess Guthrie and The Mamas all setting fire to the stage.

“I’m extremely stoked to be playing with some of my favourite people in the beautiful place I grew up,” says Torquay-bred, Melbourne-based muso Tess Guthrie, who performed at the festival last year. “The Nightjar Festival is such a cultural institution now. I’m pretty sure our set will be around sunset right by the beach so it’s pretty much the most gorgeous picturesque gig I could think of.”

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Providing a healthy dose of coastal home-grown entertainment, Tess has the type voice filled to the brim with raw emotion that will render you speechless, and with her songs and the stories she tells, she has been turning heads for what seems like an eternity.

Following the sort of song and speech hybrid about women in abusive relationships that went viral in 2018, and her sensational debut single ‘WUTO’ (Were You The One) back in March, Guthrie’s most recent single ‘Fairy Lights’, is a bold song filled with feminist fire.

Not only does this track stand as a bold and political lyrically, but it signifies depth in Guthrie – a willingness to experiment, a refusal to be pigeonholed – that makes this release so much more satisfying. A powerful songwriter, with an even more powerful voice, Guthrie demands and commands your attention each and every time.

“We’ve had a big year, the band and I, since we last played at Nightjar Geelong. There’s been an East Coast tour, sold out Melbourne shows and secret delightful shed-shows in Torquay. The last single ‘Fairy Lights’ was premiered on triple j and has since been played on community radio here and overseas – we’ve learned a lot and become so close as a band that I can’t wait to bring all that energy to the set on the 9th of January.

“I’ll also be looking to explore some different types of sounds live that are really new for me and push my own boundaries. But the Nightjar feels like a really exciting and safe place to do stuff like that.”

Shake out a picnic rug, kick back and indulge in some of the regions best boutique crafted beers and wine at the third Torquay session which will be all about rock and roll with performances from Talll Paul, Dirt Hand, Geelong’s favourite rock trio The Kite Machine, and the intergalactic power trio Z-Star Trinity, all the way from the UK.

A melting pot of folk, blues, charm and authenticity will bid farewell to the Torquay NightJar on Thursday, January 23 with performances from Flynn Gurry, The Ocelots, Doc Halibut and regional folk legend Oliver Northam & The Elsewheres, who marries strong, narrative-driven lyrics with the musical aesthetic of a bygone era.

Many musicians unseen at Torquay will then be taking to the stage each Friday in February, the perfect real-life playlist for your knock-off drinks. The first Friday night (February 7) will see the boys take to the stage, with Jack Meredith, The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra, The New Savages, and touring troubadour Skyscraper Stan, while the second week (February 14) will see all the loved-up punters sway to the melodic, acoustic performances from folksters Phil & Trudy Edgeley, The Old Married Couple, Brooke Taylor, and Byron Bay’s Bradley Stone, who will have you mesmerised with his uncanny performance of Jeff Buckley.

With Sangria in hand, the Friday festivities continue for the third Friday edition on February 21 which sees swooning alt-rock conglomerate Pink Wool Press, the authentic indie-roots pop sounds of Rach Brennan & The Pines, up and coming pop-rockers The Ethan Farmer Band and the Geelong-raised, Melbourne-based quintet Zuma leading the local menagerie. Wrapping it all up for another year, The Black Swans of Trespass, Nathan Power, Joshua Batten Band, and The Mojo Corner will come together for the final evening on February 28.

Talk about a smorgasbord of musical talent, NightJar’s 10th-anniversary edition is looking to be its best one yet.

“Being able to perform on a stage like that with so many people I love is just bloody awesome,” Tess adds. “More broadly I think having a space like that for the arts on the surf coast is so important to celebrate and showcase what we’re about and the kind of creativity that radiates through so much of the community down here.”

We love seeing all the talent at the Nightjar, but it doesn’t stop at just the music.

Each year, NightJar also showcases a range of creative stalls that are worth having a look at. With the promise of excellent gift ideas for any upcoming birthdays, you’ll find stalls selling unique clothing from the likes of Adeline’s Closet, Sunny and Finn, and Charlie. The Label; sweets and treats like the Cayley’s Cakes and Biscotti; gourmet chilli products from Hot Chilli Mama; skincare products Earth Lab; handmade living and kitchen accessories from Ginger Fox Designs and From The Clay; along with printed photography and unique paintings from Mandy Dollery and Franchome, and a range of jewellery from the likes of Topsie Jewellery, Sjaan Maia Jewellery, Mymee Loves Designs, and Modern Karisma. You can peep the full list of stalls online or just meander through the carefully curated market precinct as the sun goes down.

Creatively NightJar is a festival that thrives on exploring the unknown. This year, alongside the stalls, Nightjar Torquay will feature a new Workshop space that is sure to delight. From full moon yoga sessions, goddess gatherings, to conversations on mental health with Ocean Minds and the screening the incredible 2040 movie, there’s a lot of cool stuff under one roof over the four weeks.

While the creative space, live music and market stalls are a great excuse to head on down to the NightJar, it’s also known for its the ability to pull through when it comes to satisfying cravings, ranging from savoury to sweet inspired from all corners of the world.

With an abundance of options we’ve narrowed down our favourites that will be heading to both locations this summer. First up, Spanish Gourmet Caterers are your go-to if you feel like enjoying a flavoursome bite after a quick siesta in Spain with seafood paella and a Running Bull Sangria – a match made in heaven. If you’re a fan of Italian (and who isn’t?), Italian Kitchen will be dishing up some Nonna-worthy creations, while Mike’s Mussels will be serving the ocean’s finest and freshest bounty to the seafood lovers.

Other food stalls to help make you indecisive for dinner include The Gozleme Station, The Flying Calamari Brothers, Bao x Waffle, Chillin N Grillin, The Gypsy’s Lunchbox, Two Fat Indians, plus heaps more. Best of all, they even have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, catering to absolutely everybody.

If your looking for a sweet treat, you’ll find solace in Eat Cannoli, Lekker Lekker, Lemon In Lemon Sorbet, Nordenfine Ice Cream Company, Honey dee loukoumades, and OMG Decadent Donuts. If you’d prefer to meandering through the festival and you’re looking for a sugar hit on the go, Tropical Sno Warralily, Geelong Popcorn and Bretzel.Biz all have you covered. There will also be a range of the region’s best boutique crafted beers and wine to enjoy.

We’d recommend having an early lunch on NightJar days…


In celebration of a strong 10 years with many more to come, NightJar is taking a long-term commitment to the environment, with their focus on attracting and supporting local, sustainable businesses.

“We endeavourer to showcase independent artists, designers and creators who know their supply chain and adhere to ethical practices, work with sustainable materials and are conscious of their footprint,” says Lyndelle. “We love local produce and champion small-scale producers; our curators are always on the search to bring new innovative products and this year is no exception!

“Meandering, shopping and searching out great finds in the market space is always such a fun part of Nightjar. As conscious event organisers we work with our stallholders, to replace non-sustainable packaging and encourage them to understand their supply chain. We are super excited that this season all our craft stallholders are running off solar!”

Leave your worries at the gate, bring your pooch and step inside NightJar’s wonderland and become immersed in the magical atmosphere. NightJar Festival will tantalise the senses and evoke the soul. It’s a summer pilgrimage for holidaymakers and locals alike, most can’t leave their experience at just one visit!

Visit the website (nightjarfestival.com.au) for more information and pop these dates in your 2020 diary now!