Twice a year the Bangalow A&I Hall welcomes the Starlight Festival, an expo that showcases new-age and esoteric healers, psychics and alternative-health practitioners in our region.
It’s the brainchild of Raym Richards, and this year Mr Richards passes the ‘crystal’ baton to his daughter Rosie, who will take on directorship of this popular event.
Raym, tell me why you have decided to step down as director of The Starlight Festival?
It has been 18 fun years and the event has been a large part of my life, but over that past few years I have been feeling the need to spend more time on promoting my own healing modality and writing. I have reached the stage now with Crystal Dreaming where I am teaching teachers.
The method is growing in popularity and receiving mainstream recognition as powerful tool for positive self-transformation. In 2015 I will be taking the modality overseas, where the first of my two upcoming courses in New York is almost sold out.
My books are very popular as ebooks and I am working on a fourth, which is more of a novel than a collection of stories or a guidebook. I also find myself returning to my origins as a fine artist as I am writing poetry again.
My dilemma was who I could possibly hand the event over to who could maintain the ethics of sharing and peace associated with the Starlight Festival.
When my daughter Rosie offered to take it over I was thrilled – she is the perfect person to continue the Starlight tradition.
What was the original idea – how long have you been running it – and how has it grown since then?
When I moved to the region around 20 years ago and I could see a wealth of world-class talent here in Byron that most people were not aware of.
With my background in the arts as a creative individual, performer and festival organiser it seemed obvious to me that a festival that truly celebrated the abilities of local practitioners was a must.
I visited all the local practitioners I could and suggested they participate. Fortunately for me they could see I was coming from the heart so they got on board and the first event happened at the Byron Surf Club some 18 years ago.
The Starlight outgrew the Surf Club pretty quickly and with assistance from the Bangalow Chamber of Commerce we moved it to the A&I Hall, where it has been ever since. It is a venue that suits the energy of the Festival perfectly.
How does the community embrace the Starlight Festival – how do you think it provides a showcase for healers and practitioners?
The community support for this event has been fantastic from day one. The twice-yearly celebration quickly became a fixture in locals’ calendars, and they bring friends and family back year after year.
The healathon idea (people queue for free sessions) came from locals suggesting they would like to contribute without having to have a stand at the show. This has become a well-loved feature. Participating therapists understand that I have never been driven by profit so they really get involved, helping set up and pull down the event.
We are also supported by a great network of volunteers; without them the whole show could not run so smoothly.
Tell me about Rosie, your daughter, and what you think she’ll bring to your event.
Rosie is a 35-year-old successful businesswoman with a background in sales and event management. She runs her own annual international sporting event and has worked as an event organiser for a national wellbeing magazine.
She also owns her own boutique in Kingscliff. She has a lifetime of experience in events as she has grown up with and helped at every event I have ever created. She is also an alternative therapist and Reiki master with a passion for heath and wellbeing.
Rosie will bring a new enthusiasm and joy to the event, with more activities for women and children and a new sacred space for mediation, yoga and shamanic journeys. Her partner is a graphic designer and they both have an eye for quality presentation and promotion, so I expect the look and feel of the event to change for the better.
The core values of the event, a chilled vibe, accessibility, peace, meaningful exchange of information and the creation of a space where profound transformation can happen will remain the same.
Her job from now on is to constantly refresh the event and keep it interesting. She will keep her ear to the ground for stimulating presenters, particularly if they are local.
What should we expect for Starlight in 2015?
The same happy relaxed vibe that people love about Starlight, plus Rosie has brought in a few more prominent female presenters; she has created a sacred space for daily yoga and meditation practices as well as connection to the faerie realms.
She has also persuaded celebrated psychic and medium Jason MacDonald to return for a special one-off presentation and she has found an outstanding gourmet vegetarian caterer. In January daily admission will also include attunement to Reiki level one, worth around $150!
Starlight Festival, now under the directorship of Rosie Richards, at the Bangalow A&I Hall, 8–11 January.