Island Vibe turned 10 this year. Held on North Stradbroke Island, Quandamooka Country, this celebration of island culture was three days drenched in sunshine and great music. On the main stage big-band phenomena Melbourne Ska Orchestra delivered everything the crowd came for. NatiRuts dragged in a huge Brazilian fan base, putting extra juice in the cocktail, and the side stages served up intimate treats like Isaac Chambers and the Dub Princess playing music you could cuddle.
Beyond and beneath all that, deeper currents are beginning to flow. As the festival matures, it is departing from the ‘marquee and party drugs’ formula to connect more deeply with an ancient islander tradition – travelling to each other’s homes, sharing tribal dances. In previous years, the Welcome to Country felt like a demonstration. This year, a true welcome from a people who have taken possession their birthright, singing their songs of freedom, redemption songs for all.
Simeon Michaels, Lennox Head