BIG DRAWCARD: Kasey Chambers will perform at the Airlie Beach Festival of Music.
BIG DRAWCARD: Kasey Chambers will perform at the Airlie Beach Festival of Music.

Chambers and kids a highlight

KASEY Chambers is one of the only main stage artists ever to have been invited to play the Airlie Beach Festival of Music twice.

But while she might be a festival favourite she's also part of a "festival first”.

Kasey and the Kids is an additional performance from 9am to 11.30am on Saturday.

Also featuring the Hillbilly Goats, Gypsy Soul and an interactive performance of The Cup Song it's the first opportunity for under 18s to experience the main tent.

Other features making a debut in 2018 are "glamping” tents, new music venues and a revised showcase for the grand final of the festival's national Passport to Airlie competition.

Mirage Whitsundays, Coral Sea Resort, Whitsunday Marine Club and Airlie Beach Bowls Club have all joined the list of venues hosting live music throughout the weekend.

The Passport to Airlie has formerly been staged at Magnums, but this year it will have finalists playing one-hour sets in locations throughout Airlie Beach.

Australia's biggest Battle of the Bands competition will be judged over the weekend, with the winner announced on the main stage on Sunday about 4pm.

"We've got some amazing judges this year including a vocal coach, a couple of local musicians, a representative from a music management company and Cindy Jensen from Buskers by the Creek,” festival founder Gavin Butlin said.

"And the bands won't know when the judges are going to appear so they have to be at their best with every set.”

For those who have to work the weekend or anyone who simply wants to party on, the Jubilee Tavern will host an official after-party featuring Steady Eddy and the Hillbilly Goats on Monday from 1pm.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said it was great to see so many additions and especially the introduction of a children's event with Kasey and the Kids.

"It's appealing to the audience of the future, starting them young and growing the fan base, plus it's so important to bring music to our little people's ears,” Ms Wheeler said.

Tickets to Kasey and the Kids cost $15 per person and $50-60 for families of four to five, and can be bought on the gate or by calling 0408 062 816 in advance.

For the full list of festival venues including information on those that are ticketed, visit www.airliebeachfestival