Surfing the Coldstream

Regular Australian Traveller dynamo writer/photographer Mike Larder is so excited about the upcoming biannual Surfing the Coldstream busk fest to be held in Yamba this October, he just couldn’t contain himself. Here’s a little of what you can expect.

If you’ve ever fancied a swift lesson in juggling your balls, swallowing a breadknife or leaping through a hoop of fire, then Yamba – basking in the winter sun of Northern NSW – will be your destination of choice this coming October. This is edgy, seat-of-your-pants live theatre.

Yamba will host a festival comprising the cream of Australian and International street performers for a three-day Busk Fest over the 24th to the 26th of this coming October.

Some 120 acts, including snake charmers, sword swallowers, knife jugglers and other performers that make you go “WOW!” will present amazing deeds of daring dexterity. Surfing The Coldstream and Live Prawn Festival of Street Theatre will stage the third biannual Busk Fest, with this year’s feature attraction, a trapeze school where the emboldened spectator can learn to fly through the air and hit the ground lightly.

Musical acts, gyrating gypsy belly dancers, close-hand magic sharpsters and fire twirlers will descend upon “Yamba Samba” en masse. Not since the hugely and surprisingly successful Brisbane Expo ‘88 have so many street theatre acts been congregated in the one spot to daze and amaze.

Yamba morphs into community theatre with jazz and jive, classical musos and jump about boogie bands performing about the streets and formal venues of “Yummy Yamba”, otherwise notable for its bohemian surf-and-sun lifestyle and NSW’s second-largest prawning fleet – a good enough reason in itself to turn up. And better still, the gig is for free. But tossing large wads of cash into the sweating performers beseechingly upturned hats will be warmly received; these guys work hard for their supper. The acts do not get paid, except by their audience.

A big top will feature burlesque and stand-up comics, hootenanny bands and much carousing until the small hours after a fiery street procession. AND Surfing the Coldstream are dead proud to present the internationally applauded and kookily bizarre “Earth”, who – complete with walking human animated dinosaurs – describe themselves as “environmentally recycled theatre”.

The mind-reading, spoon-bending Space Cow Boy (one of only 42 genuine sword swallowers still un-punctured in the world) will perform his unique method of curing a sore throat, and 15,000-20,000 visitors are expected – which will make the village of Yamba bulge at the seams.

The kids will love it BUT don’t try any of this at home. And it’s best to book early if you’re coming from a distance.

More info at and a new site will be up soon with a complete menu of events and performers.

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