Warrandyte Festival 2020

To download your guide to Warrandyte Festival 2020, click here

What’s cooking at the Festival in 2020?

Festival Monarchs Tom Bone and Valerie Polley



Film Feast is back for its fourth year.

This popular evening of short films will, this year, be staged at the Riverbank Stage on the Lower Riverbank.

About 20 films from different genres will be screened from 8pm, on Friday, March 20.

Live music, food and drink available from 6pm.

Significant prizes for Best Film and People’s Choice sponsored by Riverside Market, Australia Online, Cocoa Moon, Now and Not Yet, Terry White Chemmart, Ember, Ozflix, and Palace Films.

Note: Films are not classified and some content may offend.

Tickets available at:


Festival monarchs Valerie Polley and Tom Bone will lead parade marchers from the Community Centre in Yarra Street to Stiggants Reserve on Saturday at 11am.

Marvel at the costumes and cheer on your favourite floats as they celebrate the 2020 festival theme Show us your Colours.

Look out for roving circus performers!


Stake out a spot in front of the Main Stage on Saturday at 3:30pm to watch local youth bands battle for the top prize: a day in a recording studio.

Runner up prizes of $200 vouchers proudly contributed by Hans Music in Croydon and Five Star Music in Ringwood.

Admission is FREE.


Hosted and supervised by Warrandyte/Park Orchards Scout group, the Giant Water Slide is an all-weekend festival favourite.

BYO bathers and towel; change tent available.

Get set… get wet! 

It’s funbelievable. (Charges apply).


Marshall at Beasley’s Nursery, 195 Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road on Sunday at 8:30am to enjoy a family mountain bike ride through Tikalara Park, taking in mountain bike single tracks, fire-tracks and paths.

Riders must participate with a good working mountain bike and Australian standard helmet as well as provide own safety equipment, drinks and snacks.

A responsible adult must accompany children under 14.

Register online before midnight on March 21 at online.mtba.org.au/ERegister.aspx?E=7884

bikeride@warrandytefestival.org or call 0420 558 411.


Located on the Lower Reserve below the Community Church, the Lounge offers circus experiences for everyone on Saturday, 12:30pm–4:30pm.

Ruccis Circus School will run workshops and, for daring festivalgoers, experienced coaches offer an aerial skills workshop.

Watch specialists perform acrobatics on large aerial rigs.

Lounge around and relax on Sunday from 11:30am with musical entertainment from a range of terrific young local bands.

Don’t miss the Lounge’s closing Jam Session from 4:10pm ‘til whenever!

Kids craft

Find beautiful hand-made art and craft items at the Kids’ Market on Sunday, 10am–12pm.

Note, no food items sold due to food handling requirements.


Thrills? Near spills? Epic saves? It’s the festival Billy Cart Derby, of course!

Register a cart for $10 on Sunday between 8:30am and 9:15am at the top of Police Street.

Races are open to children aged 8 to 15 years.

Win a prize or a trophy! Remember — billycarts must meet strict safety criteria. 

Registration forms available on the day or at: www.warrandytefestival.org.


Suitable for kids and adults, the Silent Disco (Upper Reserve) is everyone’s chance to boogie-oogie-oogie!

Wireless headphones primed with number-one dance tunes will have you busting your best moves from 12pm to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Get down on it! 


Who doesn’t love a pampered pooch? 

The festival’s popular Dog Show and Pet Parade is hosted by Warrandyte High School on the Riverbank Stage, Sunday at 9:30am.

All animals welcome, but must be under owner’s control.

Register for FREE at the event.


Local groups and service providers situated along the riverbank offer information and a range of opportunities.

Check the programme for a complete list of displays.

If you get tired of travelling in the same circles, why not stride the riverbank on a camel, or conquer the rock-climbing wall?

Street art

Blender Studios Street Art offers FREE workshops over the weekend (next to the Lounge, Lower Riverbank), Saturday between 12pm and 3:45pm, students’ aged 8+ can watch a professional demonstration before creating their own art piece using pre-cut stencils.

Sunday sessions between 12pm and 4:15pm are suitable for ages 10+.

This workshop will teach the foundations of large scale mural design using spray-paint.

Limited places.

Secure a spot via the festival website: www.warrandytefestival.org

Tread Sculptures

Local artist Tim Read has a passion for working with steel, preferring reclaimed material in its second stage of life.

Tim’s handmade metal sculptures are available for purchase and will be displayed on the Upper Reserve all weekend.

Yoga and/or sound bath

Relax and experience the incredible power of sound and vibrations of the gongs when you receive a Cosmic Sound Bath from Saskia Rashad-Cleary in this FREE session at the Lounge, Lower Riverbank, on Sunday from 7am–7:30am.

Suitable for most abilities, Tori’s yoga is a joyous exploration of yoga postures, breathing, connection and relaxation.

No handstands required.

Bring a mat to the Lounge on Sunday from 7:35am–8:35am for this FREE session.

Call Tori on 0432 712 340 or email tori@swedosh.com for enquiries.

…and much more

See the full program on pages 18–19, visit the Festival website or find it on Facebook to find out what else there is to see and do at Warrandyte Festival 2020.


All the fun of the festival stages


WARRANDYTE Festival audiences can expect top-notch entertainment across the weekend of March 20–22.

Music governs the mix, but a variety of acts have been included to keep things fresh.

This year’s Riverbank Stage line up kicks off on Saturday at 12pm with a show from Magic Happens, which is astonishing and funny with its escape acts, unicycling, dove magic and juggling.

Talented magician Anthony de Masi has performed his magic tricks all over the world.

Later, comedian Daniel Connell (described as “the ideal Aussie comedian: affable, loveable and hilarious”) will tickle audience funny bones.

Musical acts follow, among them sets from blues-influenced singer-guitarist Geoff Achison, and Julian James (many will know him as the front man of Catfish Voodoo).

The Main Stage features school bands from Saturday at 12:15pm before the Battle of the Bands (BOB) fronts the audience faithful at 3:30pm.

Psych-blues band from Melbourne, Lunar Tide, will take it up another level once local youth bands have pulled the plug.

Fans of American blues/rock bands like Alabama Shakes are in for a thrill at 8:15pm.

Hailing from Cobden in Victoria, Leslie D King (& the Trembling Shakes) creates a unique blend of music with an Americana twist.

The soulful rocker describes his lyrics as “nakedly honest”, as they “shine a light of transparency on everyday struggles with family, friends, the search for identity and everything in between”.

Festival favourites, high energy, folk/bluegrass band The Scrims, close out the evening.

It is worth getting up early next morning to grab a seat at Sunday’s Riverbank Stage for the festival’s much-loved Pet Parade.

And, if it’s an “off-lead” experience you want, see handlers put pythons through their paces in a fun and educational session with Wildlife Xposure.

Just on 12pm, local band Riffmasters acknowledges the extraordinary cultural gift of the African-Americans to modern music, interpreting a heady mix of Chicago Blues, soul and Motown classics.

Then set your volume to “cruise” as Velvet Lounge combines original songs with some reworked covers to create a moody, smooth sound.

Blues driven, soulful music artfully delivered, this local band creates a unique presence and is a pleasure to see live.

From 1:30pm, catch melodic, folky duo Sunday Lemonade, followed by local band, Mondegreen.

Sunday’s Main Stage music gets underway at 10:30am with American (East Nashville) folk artist Amelia White.

Emcee for the day is versatile entertainer — juggler, unicyclist and whacky clown — Collin Bogaars.

Audiences will hear music from local guitar teacher Jay Smith & Friends, Gretta Ziller, and Ben Mastwyk and his Millions, among others, before Blues Arcadia shakes the stage at 6:30pm.

Given that number three on the blues band’s “top five attributes of the best band you can imagine” is “a killer rhythm section that grooves together like a red-hot Saturday night in New Orleans”, Blues Arcadia are sure to bring the house down.

And if you’re not “having the time of your life” by then, BABBA will surely get you up and about.

The most exciting and musically accurate tribute to ABBA in the world…

“How could I ever refuse?”


High tech hide and seek

Kids create their own moving, speaking creatures using motion capture technology


ON WEDNESDAY, February 19,  student artists at Warrandyte Primary School experienced augmented reality and the artistic process in a workshop called Hidden Creature Gallery by Arena Theatre Co. 

Students from Grades 5 and 6 were invited to create and ‘hide’ their own animated creatures at Stiggants Reserve using augmented reality technology. 

Students participated in a reflective senses activity identifying what they could hear, see, smell, touch, feel and remember about Stiggants Reserve. 

They were divided into smaller groups and found a special place in the reserve to photograph key visual elements. 

Artists from Arena Theatre Co accompanied each group and documented their shared personal responses.

In a workshop setting the students developed distinctive personalities for their creatures via ‘I’ statements. 

A favourite amongst the class was Antropoulos a territorial, cheeky creature who lives near an ant nest in the reserve and declares that the “ants are my security”.

Motion capture technology helped the children animate their character using their own voice and facial expressions. 

The kids practiced bringing their creatures to life by creating unique voices and performing for their peers using augmented reality technology.

Hidden Creature Gallery premiered at the 2019 Castlemaine State Festival. 

This year Hidden Creature Gallery will feature at the Warrandyte Festival brought to you by Manningham Council.

Primary school aged children (accompanied by a parent/guardian) can participate in hourly workshops in the riverside rotunda to create their own creatures. 

Festival-goers can download the Hidden Creatures Gallery app by Arena Theatre Co and watch the creatures come alive throughout the reserve.

Don’t miss out in creating your unique animated creature and joining in the virtual treasure hunt.

Hidden Creature Gallery workshops will run at
Warrandyte Festival on;

Saturday 21
11.00am, 12.00pm, 1.00pm,
2.00pm and 3.00pm

Sunday 22
10.00am, 11.00am, 12.00pm 1.00pm 2.00pm and 3.00pm

Grand Read roars into another decade


BACK UNDER the Warrandyte Festival umbrella where it all began, Grand Read organisers are pleased to announce talented poet Robyn Rowland as this year’s Feature Reader.

A key celebration in a community that values its literary artists, Warrandyte’s Grand Read roars into its 23rd consecutive year.

Warrandyte Festival Committee member Marion Winter originally staged this relaxed evening of poetry and prose in 1998, under the banner Words Unplugged.

Joan Rogers from the Old Bakery Cotttage Bookshop (now Yarra Cottage Books) ran the event from 2000 to 2003, when it was briefly known as Food and Thoughts.

In 2004, Warrandyte Neighbourhood House (WNH) took it over and local poet Karen Throssell promoted the event for the next decade.

The name of Warrandyte’s literary night-of-nights may have changed over the years, but what has not is the event’s regular ability to deliver a line up of authentic voices.

Poets and writers from Warrandyte and surrounds thriving literary community, plus an acclaimed guest reader from out of town, make up the bill.

Thanks to valuable support from WNH, the Grand Read has prospered significantly to attract such past memorable readers as Melbourne-based poet and neuropsychiatrist Dr Jennifer Harrison (most notably, awarded the Christopher Brennan Award for sustained lifetime contribution to Australian poetry); writer, novelist and human rights advocate Arnold Zable and award-winning poet and short story writer Lisa Jacobson.

Last year, audiences experienced an extraordinary performance from poet, playwright and actor Felix Nobis.

This year’s featured reader Dr Robyn Rowland AO has written 15 books, 12 of poetry. 

She is widely represented in national and international journals and has been awarded prizes for her work all over the world.

A former professor of social inquiry and women’s studies at Deakin University, and member of the National Advisory Council for Australian Poetry, Robyn’s poetry is celebrated for its rhetorical power.

Grand Read 2020 returns local writer and musician Kevin Bonnett (who took a turn on the trumpet last year during the mid-evening break) and newly minted OAM recipient and self-confessed madwoman, Sandy Jeffs.

Karen Throssell, whose poetry embraces the personal and political and lively poet John Jenkins, (his work reflects “an infectious delight in language” — Mike Ladd, reviewing Dark River in Australian Book Review) both have recently published work to share.

Warrandyte Guitar Studio’s Jay Smith (& Friends) — guitar teacher to musicians the likes of Chris Cheney from the Living End and Madonna (no, really) — will add extra spice to the atmosphere.

Warrandyte’s Grand Read has continued to grow from humble beginnings, enchanting audiences for more than two decades.

A $20 ticket includes a light supper, drinks are available at bar prices.

All proceeds return to Warrandyte Festival coffers.

The literary love affair kicks off at 7pm on Tuesday March 24, upstairs in the Riverview Room at the Grand, Warrandyte. 

Don’t miss it!

Tickets available at:

For enquiries, email:

NB: Event will be cancelled and money refunded in the event of a Code Red fire danger rating.

Keep up to date with other festival news by visiting the Warrandyte Festival website and Facebook page.