Wintermoon choir performs at a previous event.
Wintermoon choir performs at a previous event. Contributed

Spoiled wedding plans the catalyst for music festival

NORTH Queensland's popular Wintermoon festival, set to celebrate its 24th event from May 1-4 next year, was originally inspired when founder Chris Cann's upcoming wedding didn't go to plan.

The bride changed her mind one month before the big day, but Mr Cann, who continues to coordinate the festival, decided to carry on with the party regardless.

Festival organiser Patrick Burke said they had all the bands ready and everyone heading to the function, so they went ahead anyway and had such a good time.

"So that turned into the festival,” he said.

Still set annually at the same Cameron's Pocket location, a breathtakingly stunning piece of land set against the backdrop of Eungella National Park halfway between Mackay and Proserpine, Mr Burke said tickets to the festival would make ideal Christmas presents with the first round of early-bird tickets on sale until the end of this month.

"We get quite a few parents who buy their kids tickets for Christmas and some kids shout their grandparents a day at the festival,” he said.

He said the inception and development of the festival had been an "amazing journey” and, after more than two decades, the event now often attracted three generations of many families.

"The music does cover all ages,” he said.

"It has a lovely family appeal and the kids love it. There's a 'kind' feeling about the festival.

"And there's no mobile phone service so people - kids and parents - can really connect with each other.

"I think that's been the secret to the event, it's a real family experience.”

A photo of the stunning backdrop of the Wintermoon Festival, set to be held on May 1-4.
A photo of the stunning backdrop of the Wintermoon Festival, set to be held on May 1-4. Contributed

Mr Burke said workshops and events including weaving, felting and the choir were often attended by family members as experiences that could be enjoyed together.

Over the years, Wintermoon has also been the starting point for many nuptials.

"A lot of people have met through the festival, including a couple of volunteers.

"We've had quite a few weddings - I can think of at least half a dozen.”

He said Wintermoon organisers were proud of its strong music program, with local performers as well "the best acts” from around Australia travelling to the region for the event.

"The quality of music is excellent.”

While performances are still being finalised for 2020, there is an expected 25 acts currently set to perform over two stages to the festival's theme of 'world music in a tropical setting'.

More than 1500 people are expected to attend, and camping options including tent hire and 'glamping' are available.

"The majority of people come from the Whitsundays and Mackay, but we do get quite a few from Yeppoon, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, and even Victoria.”

Acts will include the Round Mountain Girls, The Twine, Weeping Willows, Out of Abingdon, Uke Nomad, Bruce Watson, Aquapella, The Natural Culture, Mufassa and the Pride, and Julian James and Gypsy Culture.

Arnhem Land's Black Rock Band, who are preparing to release a new album, have also been confirmed, which Mr Burke said was "really exciting”.

"They have their own sound. It's quite amazing - it's a desert reggae sound or a cross between rock music, reggae and an indigenous sound,” he said.

"This will be one of the best line-ups we've had at Wintermoon yet.

"One of the things people also love is the children's choir with about 40 kids on stage.”

Wintermoon Festival 2020 will be from May 1-4 (Labour Day weekend); early-bird tickets are available on the Wintermoon Facebook page, online at or through