The Australian Body Art Festival is one of the most unique and fascinating annual events on the Sunshine Coast calendar. It brings artists and models from all over Australia (and the world) to compete for top honours, and spectators flock to Cooroy to see what flights of fancy they come up with each year.
The theme for 2019 was “Other Worlds” and this gave the artists considerable scope for their designs. Entries included designs inspired by the fairy world, outer space, mythology, spirituality, popular fiction and even other worlds that exist here on Earth. Themes in past years have been just as fantastic, such as “Wild Things” in 2018 and “Wonderland” in 2017. I can’t wait to see what the artists come up with for this year’s theme of “Time Travel”!
The Competitors’ Marquee is where all the action takes place throughout the day. The artists begin the process of transforming the bare bodies of their models at 8:30 am when the competition starts. The marquee is opened to the public from 9:30 am. Spectators have a full view of the artists at work from around the outside of the marquee.
It’s mesmerizing to watch the artists working and I recommend arriving no later than about 11 am so you can see the transformations in progress. Take some time to walk around the marquee to see the designs. It does get a bit crowded at times, but if you’re patient and wait for other spectators to move on you will be able to get to the front of the crowd for a good view.
Once you’ve seen all of the competitors, there are heaps of other things to do and see. Have a wander around the market area and let the kids get their faces painted and have a go at the activities on offer. Then grab something for lunch and head over to the stage where you can sit and watch some performances by local entertainers while you eat.
When you’re finished your lunch, go and do another lap around the marquee to see what progress has been made on the body paintings. I’m sure you’ll be amazed.
There are a number of different categories that the artists can enter: Brush and Sponge, Airbrush, Face Painting, Special Effects and Wearable Art. All of the photos above were from the Brush and Sponge category and the photos below were in the Airbrush category. All of the photos in this post are from the 2019 Festival.
The talented artists from Aerial Dreaming gave several daily performances on the aerial silks during the 2019 Festival.
The competitions close at 2-2:30 pm and the models and artists head off for the judging and professional photoshoots. If you haven’t already found a good seat near the stage, this is the time to do it because this is where the Parade and Awards Ceremony is held. While you wait, it’s a great chance to kick back and enjoy some performances by local musicians and dancers. The wonderful Gubbi Gubbi Dancers are regulars at the Festival. I love watching these guys perform!
Unfortunately, my camera battery didn’t get me to the end (I think I overdid it during the day), so I don’t have any photos of the 2019 parade to share. If you want to see more photos of the Australian Body Art Festival 2019 or check out past years head over to the Australian Body Art Festival’s website or facebook page.
The Australian Body Art Festival is free to attend as a spectator. There is also a ticketed opening night event that you can attend for $25.
A wide range of tasty food is available to purchase from food vendors at the Festival, or you can take a wander down Maple Street to one of the cafes in Cooroy.
The Festival is held in Apex Park, Maple Street, Cooroy. Public transport to Cooroy on weekends is pretty much non-existent, so you will have to drive to the Festival. The event organisers suggest parking on the vacant block in Lower Mill Road, but we found a parking space quite easily just up from the park. Cooroy is a small town, but it does have a fair amount of on street parking.