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Byron Shire
June 15, 2024

Kick up your heels – it’s Tropical Fruits season

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It will be the 24th Tropical Fruits Festival this year and event coordinator Shane Duniam is confident that, despite the date being after the end of the Mayan calendar, the event will go ahead.

Hence the theme for this year’s event – Beyond Atlantis – where attendees are invited to ‘take a deep breath and prepare to swim into the fifth dimension where past, present and future collide and we gather together to witness the soul’s ascension to a plane beyond as the New Year dawns’.

The season of Tropical Fruits kicks off with a parade on Saturday December 29 at 4.30pm in the Richmond Hotel car park. It will travel down Magellan Street to the Post Office, turn left down to Keen St then turn right to the Lismore Workers Club where the  HYPERLINK “http://echonetdaily.echo.net.au/queer-cheer-before-new-year” 4th International Queer Fruits Film Festival begins.

Organisers of the Tropical Fruits NYE party create initiatives each year that evolve the festival and maintain its relevance. This year, four crew from Tropical Fruits completed a sustainable management course on how to green the event

Shane told Echonetdaily, ‘an outcome of this is looking at plastic drink bottles. They have recycled stamps on them but they are not recyclable and taste tests have shown that tap water wins over bottled water every time.

‘So this year we are selling water bottles with our logo on them and we will offer free water on site: there will be water refill stations as well as the bar. We have put our can prices up by $1 and we will offer a $1 refund on each can returned. This helps us manage our rubbish on site.

‘Our recycling people have given us feedback that over the last few events, our recycling has been more than 99 per cent pure, which is a great achievement,’ he said.

Maude Boat will MC the cabaret stage, which will be hosting two shows: one prior to midnight and one after. Production assistant for Tropical Fruits, Fanny Waterfalls, will be performing with Pussytown on this stage. Pussytown were sponsored by Lismore City Council, Tropical Fruits and local businesses to tour to Adelaide’s gay festival, Feast, where they performed to sell-out crowds.

‘We like to build on the strengths of our communities,’ Shane said.

Shane acknowledges the strength of talent in the northern rivers and sees the festival as an opportunity to showcase this to the 3500 capacity crowd.

‘Seventy per cent of our ticket sales are from Sydney; we also sell to Canada, America, Japan etc. Ticket sales are stronger this year; we are up 20–40 per cent on last year.’

Destiny Haz Arrived will be doing the welcome to country as a member of the Bundjalung nation. Former Greens leader Bob Brown will also be part of the festivities. Other entertainment on the night includes two of Australia’s best DJs, with VJs also having a strong presence. The recovery party will be closed by Australia’s first lady of house Kate Munro, who Shane describes as ‘phenomenal’.

Festival-goers have been briefed to ‘dress to get wet’. Shane reassured attendees that ‘their mobiles won’t get wet; it will just be hot and steamy with some misting here and there. Our creative team have pulled out all stops to create some amazing underwater gardens.’

Campers can arrive from the Thursday, December 27, and will bump out on Thursday January 3. Locals are encouraged to try the camp (!) experience, making some new friends and avoiding travel fatigue after the parties.

The first-ever ‘official’ camp party will be on Sunday December 30. ACON will team up with organisers on the night and run an alcohol-free ‘mocktail bar’ as a health initiative. Fanny Waterfalls describes the camping scene as a ‘magical village. They pop up like mushrooms. Some campers have been doing it for years.’

On the same night as the camp party, there will be a youth under-25 drug- and alcohol-free party held at the showground. Succession of staff is important to Tropical Fruits, who last year trained youths to run their own event. So this year, one of those youths is now the Tropical Fruits volunteer coordinator.

For the festival guide go to  HYPERLINK “http://en.calameo.com/read/0001805687f12ac6b2836” http://en.calameo.com/read/0001805687f12ac6b2836.

To buy tickets go to  HYPERLINK “http://www.tropicalfruits.org.au/#!vstc3=aboutmenu/vstc0=ticketing” http://www.tropicalfruits.org.au/#!vstc3=aboutmenu/vstc0=ticketing.

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