IT'S TIME: The Whitsundays is getting set for one of its biggest events with the Airlie Beach Festival of Music starting tomorrow.
IT'S TIME: The Whitsundays is getting set for one of its biggest events with the Airlie Beach Festival of Music starting tomorrow.

Festival fever strikes Airlie

"REAL music fans” are what US chart-topping band Smash Mouth remembers most about Australia and what it's especially looking forward to about performing in Airlie Beach.

The four-piece act, whose signature song All Star became the global anthem to the movie Shrek, will bring the house down at the finale of the 2018 Airlie Beach Festival of Music on Sunday.

Front man Steve Harwell is promising just as much passion on stage as the band brought to performances in 1999.

"We feel and take energy from the crowd; we do drum solos, we bring fans on stage - it's a big party,” he said.

Festival founder Gavin Butlin said Smash Mouth was one of his top picks on the 2018 line-up.

"To have a band of that calibre coming to a small town like Airlie Beach is unheard of,” Mr Butlin said.

"But every band on the whole line-up is amazing; it's one of our strongest yet and to have three or four big headline names each night is massive.”

Among those headline names are the Ted Mulry Gang, Kasey Chambers, Ash Grunwald and The Church (playing tomorrow), Marcia Hines, the Melbourne Ska Orchestra and Killing Heidi (playing Saturday) and Dave Dobbyn, Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde (joining Smash Mouth on Sunday).

And this is only a fraction of the full 74-act line-up, spread across 18 venues over three days, including established musicians and undiscovered talent.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said the mix was a proven hit, with the town already pumping in what used to be one of the quietest times of the year.

"If we go back five years and look at where we were in terms of visitation on this weekend in the calendar compared to now, it's an amazing achievement and a great testament to the teamwork of the festival organisers, the sponsors and the businesses and individuals that get behind the event,” Ms Wheeler said.

"When we think about events that make you want to come back it's the atmosphere that does it and this event has that in spades.

Full festival tickets cost $270 for a three-day pass and one-day passes are $130.

For Airlie Beach Festival of Music details, follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.