2017 KISS Arts Festival: The Directors’ wrap

With the KISS Arts Festival over for its sixth year, we give its organisers Tamara Campbell and Dave Evans the chance to run through the highlights and take a bow for all concerned:

Laughter, art and sunshine filled Kiama’s Black Beach this weekend as the KISS Arts Festival once again bought great interactive joy and international talent to the stunning seaside location. Attendance grew again this year, gaining momentum for the event in its new location and new time of year, with an estimated 6000 people, both locals and tourists, visiting the Festival across the weekend.

The Festival kicked off with a SOLD OUT Kiama Kabaret on Friday night. The show was hailed as the best yet, with some audience members even saying that it was the best thing they had ever seen. Local artist Becky Guggisberg kindly donated a painting for auction with the proceeds going to the festival budget.

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We were very pleased with the addition of the AIR KISS Tent, which housed a number of interactive art projects. Local artists Paula Gowans, Sharon Muller and Libby Bloxham hosted the AIR KISS Tent with an Orry Kelly inspired costume making workshop and The Sketch-O-Rama (where the Festival artists sat for life drawing classes under the supervision of local artists).

A delightful fashion parade of created costumes closed the Festival.

The addition of the visual arts component was always on the cards for KISS and its presence was excellently received.

The Unity project, facilitated by Gerringong artist Penny Sudabin, where the public stretched donated wool between a circle of 3 metre poles representing questions and statements proposed by the community, created an incredibly moving snapshot of the town in which we live. This project was a beautiful juxtaposition to the high energy and comedy at the Festival, allowing some time for reflection.

Interactive comedy performance is the centerpiece of the Festival and this year was no exception, with a flurry of internationally acclaimed acts from around the world and around the corner.

It is a great pleasure to watch multi-generations laughing together in shared joy at a program of acts that we would normally have to flock to major centres to see.

All the hard work is worth it, when you hear people so filled with happiness together with their families and friends experiencing great entertainment at such an accessible event.

The highlight of Sunday’s entertainment was the infamous Ray White Raft Race across Kiama Harbour. This year saw seven entries compete for prizes from Trees Adventure Nowra, Jamberoo Action Park, Kiama Farmers’ Market and Penny Whistler, and of course the Raft Race Trophy.

Gerringong Men’s Shed just managed to scrape home ahead of the all girls Kiama Downs Surf Club team, Shark Bait. Crowd favourites though were
The Specials, in their not entirely sea-worthy Bath/Raft. They basically got out and paddled their raft after it took on too much water.

Plans are already in place for 2018, so put the dates of 28 and 29 April in your dairy.

KISS would also like to give a big thank you to our major sponsors Kiama Council, Ray White Kiama, Kiama Business Chamber  and The Pines Dairy.

We would also like to thank all the volunteers that gave so much of their time to make the event happen – you all know who you are.

Tamara and Dave


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