Island Vibe: A Festival That Truly Sparks Joy

User Review
4.67 (6 votes)

The week before Island Vibe, I began to daydream. Having never been to North Stradbroke Island, I anticipated a weekend spent swimming in the glimmering South Pacific Ocean, sunning myself to tropical tunes with an icy chai in hand, and sparking conversations with like-minded wanderers and artists.

Basically, whenever I thought about Island Vibe, the song “Island In The Sun” started playing in my head, and having returned from this glorious getaway, I can now confirm this was an apt soundtrack indeed.

Musical offering: ★★★★★

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the Island Vibe festival is the very happy balance organisers struck between showcasing electronic and live music.

Letting loose on the dance floor!

With three stages and a silent disco each offering a unique experience that perfectly suited the vibe of a weekend island getaway, there was something sonic for everyone to enjoy throughout the entire event.

Musical highlights included:

Bustaflux: There’s good reason this producer is booked year-round on the bush doof circuit. His Friday night remix of “Get Your Freak On” sent the crowd into a tizzy with its danceable, up-tempo beats and playful vibe. Feet stomped and bodies twisted and worked out to the familiar, funky melody – a highlight of what was an all-round invigorating set.

Bustaflux busts a move.

Straddie Island Singers: It’s beautiful and, unless you’re a church-goer, very unusual to hear live acapella in our society. The Straddie Island Singers delivered a harmonious performance that brought an aura of calm and delight to the chai-sipping crowd who were fortunate enough to witness their works while soaking in the Saturday afternoon sun. 

Selecta Savage: Wow. Selecta Savage’s eclectic yet seamless performance set hips swinging as the Saturday afternoon electronic crowd geared up for the evening head. This truly talented producer has a gift for mixing things up – just when you think you’ve got her set figured out, she effortlessly slips into another delicious subgenre. One minute you’re enjoying ear tingling minimal psytrance dipped in chunky bass and smattered with a stripped back, catchy melody, then the next minute you’re immersed in upbeat, playful dub with a very pleasant tinge of ska. Selecta Savage knows how to get a party started – look out for her in upcoming lineups.

Remember this face!

4’20 Sound & SK Simeon: It’s fair to say I’ve never seen an artistic duo bring an afternoon mosh to life quite as these boys did. Their absolutely phenomenal reggae meets dancehall meets drum and bass sound got the crowd bumping and pumping from the get-go. With tight beats, rhythm out the caboose, and rapid-fire vocals (delivered with liveliness and accuracy by the one and only SK Simeon), 4’20 Sound set the crowd on fire. Oh, and did I mention a troupe of synchronized dancers made an appearance in the middle of their mosh? These female’s groove lifted the energy infinitely and provided inspiration for all the movers and shakers around them. Brilliant.

Did someone say flash mob?

Alysha Brilla: This quirky (almost) all-female performance brought so much more to the main stage than the soulful sounds of a five-piece (?) band with a skilful singer-songwriter. Alysha oozed confidence and strength throughout the performance, taking occasional breaks to connect with and encourage the audience.

Sing it to me, Alysha.

Then, in a particularly touching show of solidarity with the crowd, at the end of their performance, Alysha chose several volunteers to get up on stage and dance their hearts out with the crowd’s full love and support. This act of exhortation undoubtedly created a life-long magical memory for those girls, imparting a little of Alysha’s boundless strength and positivity on all who were present.

Female empowerment at its best.

Crowd vibe: ★★★★

As a festival that’s been running for 15 years, Island Vibe has established a rather diverse following. The crowd at this event is a mix of the regular bush doof crew (who bring hippie vibes and colourful outfits), families and day-trippers from Brisbane (who bring wholesome, community-minded attitudes), and locals, many of whom were the traditional owners of the land (folks from the Quandamooka region as well as, the Nunukal, Nughie and Goenpul people of Minjerribah and Moorgumpin), who welcomed their visitors with open arms.

A beautiful, inspiring welcome to country.

To put on an event that can be harmoniously enjoyed by all of these vastly different groups of people is no mean feat – and yet Island Vibe does just that.

Each person I encountered at this festival was friendly, open and welcoming. It was clear that all were there for light-hearted fun and the freedom to be themselves.

When you feel the music in your soul…

And, I’d also like to mention that by restricting the sale and consumption of alcohol to the bar by the main stage, the festival managed to create a truly family-friendly vibe. I never encountered anyone who was overly intoxicated, aggressive, or out of control. Great job.

Amenities: ★★★★

It’s clear that this festival is big on reducing waste and keeping festival-goers safe and happy, and on the whole things ran rather smoothly at Island Vibe.

Security were friendly and professional.

Drinks were served in re-usable cups that punters drop off at waste stations, which resulted in minimal to no waste left lying around the place (this is also a testament to the calibre of people who attended).

Right on.

The line for the water bottle refill station was never too long and the fact it was filtered was a pleasant bonus. 

The only obvious improvement that could be made was the addition of more toilets, although I must say that, despite the lineups, when I did get a chance to use the facilities they were exceptionally clean and well-stocked. Hats off to the crew!

Extracurricular activities: ★★★★

While I must admit my short stay at Island Vibe did not facilitate me indulging in extracurricular activities other than a glorious morning spent at the beach, it was clear there was plenty to see and do at this festival.

Where would you rather be?

There were weaving, dance, upcycling and musical workshops, a schedule packed full of free activities for the kids (plus a skate park next door), and plenty of educational sessions at the Common-Unity Hub. 

Skirrt skirr little dude.

These elements undoubtedly enriched the cultural experience of the festival and are a testament to the value such events bring to our society.

Island Vibe defies the toxic stereotype many festivals face. Rather than being merely a place to get intoxicated, Island Vibe was a place to learn, play and connect with others.

Atmosphere: ★★★★

The atmosphere at Island Vibe was lively and abuzz with activity from morning until evening. 

With so much to see and do packed into the parklands, wandering around the crowd could leave you feeling a little overwhelmed at times. But this is not a criticism, as organisers had clearly taken this into consideration and provided many places to retreat from the hubbub, including the beach, the Chai ‘N’ Vibes tent, and the workshop spaces. 

A soft place to lay your head…

The easily navigable layout of the festival also minimised noise-bleed between the two stages – the only spot where both could be heard was in the toilet lineup – a strategic decision perhaps, as most wouldn’t loiter there unless they needed the latrines.

All in all, the atmosphere was merry and the site was well-planned.

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Island Vibe is a glowing example of a family-friendly music and cultural festival that’s done right. With a meticulously curated lineup that highlights the very best of many genres, a loyal following of welcoming, positive people, and a location that is unrivalled in the Queensland festival scene, it is everything you could want from a festival experience.

Mark it on the calendar for next year!

Fun for the whole family!


  1. Leticia November 5, 2019
  2. Daynia Petersen November 6, 2019
  3. Ben Smith November 13, 2019

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