Festival Of The Sun

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FOTSUN evolved from the desire to attempt something that the younger people of Port Macquarie would embrace … something that would put our region on the map and make us as younger people proud to be living in Port Macquarie. Sixteen years on, and Festival Director Simon Luke says it is the people who make it such a great event.

Simon Luke

Hey Simon. Sold out again! You must be really excited for this year’s event? Yes, we are really stoked to sell out again this year! With so much going on, it’s really great to see our annual Fotsunners coming back to Port Macquarie for their annual weekend adventure!  

In your opinion, what makes Port Macquarie’s home-grown festival, FOTSUN so special? As one of the very few remaining independent Aussie owned festivals in NSW, we are really proud to be locally owned and operated and calling Port Macquarie home. Our focus for 16 years has always been to ensure we put our beautiful town on the map, and we think we have well and truly achieved that. FOTSUN is unique in a way that you can only really appreciate by attending and experiencing this amazing little world we have created. 

It’s grown to be a significant event on the PMQ calendar. How many artists and performers do you have this year? FOTSUN has 2,500 visitors from outside of the region for an average of three days, around 500 locals, up to 250 musicians and visual artists and over 200 crew. 

You introduced some improved wastes initiatives recently. Talk us through how that has evolved, what you do, and who’s involved locally? FOTSUN last year was the first festival to ban single-use plastic onsite, including no plastic water bottles backstage. 

We launched a programme called the eCANomy, and with patron support, we recycled 22,000 cans and 2 tonnes of cardboard. Over the past 10 years, FOTSUN has reduced our landfill by 67%. This year the recipients of our eCANomy programme will be Coastal Warriors, who will be manning our eCANomy depo on-site, where punters can swap cans for a range of product vouchers. 

You have a great team behind you working on the event; we meet just some of them in this edition. I bet there are a few more you’d like to acknowledge? There are just so many people both locally and from out of town who make FOTSUN what it is today. 

We have a massive team, many of whom were with us from day one. From JJ to Snacks, Cookie Joe to Vegan Joe; from Rosie to Biff and to the festival fairy, Russell. Just so many legends to mention! We all can’t wait to have our festival family reunion here in Port Macquarie. There is no doubt that a huge part of FOTSUN is the people who run the event and the awesome punters who attend the event, creating one of the funniest, laid back festival vibes in Australia – so massive love to every single one of them … yeeew! 

Thanks, Simon. See you there!

Rachel Stephan

Hi, I am Rachel, artist and owner of HER.ART. I moved to Port Paradise seven years ago and never left; this is home now. Recently I opened up a kids’ space for children to be wild and creatively free, called HER.ART SPACE – future FOTSUN artists in the making, perhaps?

What is your role within FOTSUN? Art curator and installation artist.

How long have you been involved with the festival? This is my seventh year attending, third year being involved.

Who is your favourite artist on this year’s lineup, and who are you looking forward to seeing? Favourite artist: that’s a cruel question – pass? Who am I looking forward to seeing: Arno Faraji has such a great vibe; I can’t wait to see him live and have a little boogie.

Matt Dobson

Hey! I’m Matt, and my partner, Taylor and I run a clothing store in town called Pretty Rad Store. Being locals ourselves and growing up in the area, we wanted to create something unique that people could come check out and shop at, instead of having to buy online.

What is your role within FOTSUN? Pretty Rad Store is a major sponsor of the event, and we have been for some time now! We love getting behind local projects that not only bring thousands of visitors to the town every year but also keep live music alive. Festivals and fashion go hand in hand, so it’s a no-brainer for us.

How long have you been involved with the festival? This year will be our fourth year, which is super exciting – as it’s our biggest one yet! We are bringing one of our favourite brands on board this year, and they will be hosting a really cool activation inside the festival. Follow our Instagram story over the weekend for all things FOTSUN!

Who is your favourite artist on this year’s lineup, and who are you looking forward to seeing? There are so many good acts, but a stand out for me will be Lime Cordiale; those guys are making big waves, and I bet in a few years people will still say, “Can you believe we saw them at FOTSUN?” Taylor can’t wait for Trophy Eyes; they will put on a good show for sure.

What makes Port Macquarie such a great place to host Festival of the Sun? Positioned right in the centre of town, next to the skatepark and beach! It’s one of the best boutique festival setups I’ve seen, and we’ve seen a few! See you in-store soon!

Jessica Cobourn

My name is Jessica Cobourn. I’m the director of operations and creative services at Jessica.co.creative.

I’ve had some strong family connections to Port Macquarie since I was a small child and now am lucky enough to call it my home; it is an inspiring and natural wonderland that I cherish.

What is your role within FOTSUN? My role for FOTSUN is to perform with and direct my crew of incredible entertainers, bringing some extra magic to the FOTSUN crowds through interactive fun and wonderment.

I’m also responsible for a gang of TRASH PIXIES, a roving leave no trace education team and last but definitely not least, I will be creating a very special and super-secret garden space! Shhhh!

How long have you been involved with the festival? This is my second year being involved with the festival, and it’s such a great honour to be a part of it! The crew are just legendary; I feel so lucky and grateful. 

Who is your favourite artist on this year’s lineup, and who are you looking forward to seeing? I absolutely love music, and this year’s FOTSUN has me spoilt for choice! But if I have to say, I definitely won’t wanna miss Julia Jacklin – I just adore her style, Baker Boy, Boo Seeka and Tired Lion! Yeah … nah, I couldn’t just pick one!

Simon Luxton

Hi, I’m Sigh. I’ve lived in Port for the past seven years, after escaping the dull climate of Tasmania on holiday and decided to stay.

What is your role within FOTSUN? I’m the art monkey, and I help with the design and theme of the festival each year.

How long have you been involved with the festival? I’ve been involved with FOTSUN since the beginning of 2015.

Who is your favourite artist on this year’s lineup, and who are you looking forward to seeing? I’m very much looking forward to chucking a mosh during Trophy Eyes.

What makes Port Macquarie such a great place to host Festival of the Sun? Port Macquarie is great because it has a breakwall to stop the tide from washing people’s tents away while they are dancing.

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