Subscribe to our regular 'What's on in Victoria' newsletter

The WinterWild program is out and it’s as weird and wild as you would expect

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

Originally created to raise funds and ignite community spirit after the 2015 Colac Otway bushfires, the WinterWild festival (Aug 25-27) has grown into one of the highlights of Victoria’s events calendar. With the first round of the 2023 program just announced, we pull out a few highlights so you can start planning your trip.

The festival will be officially started with a Welcome to Country by members of the Eastern Marr Aboriginal Corporation at 6 pm Friday, August 25. After which the party mode sets in with an energetic performance from Wemba-Wemba rapper RidzyRay (free event).

Apollo Bay Festival

Over in the Mechanics Hall, Indie rock legend Jen Cloher will be headlining with local singer-songwriter Sid O’Neil, along with the body-shaking Zoë Fox and the Rocket Clocks and indie-jazz five-piece Outtatime. Jen Cloher has been a stable of the Melbourne indie rock scene since the early 2000s and has been instrumental in supporting and promoting emerging Australian artists.

On Saturday morning, early risers are invited to join performance artists The Midnight Horrors on the Apollo Bay Foreshore for a surreal and haunting guided ‘bird walk’. Or else rev up your engines by joining Mark Kluwer for a two-hour meditation and cold-water therapy session that is sure to quell the debauchery of the night before.


The Wild Feast commences along the foreshore from 4 pm, where the whole festival community will come together to bond and nourish. Expect to find open pans of seafood and vegetable paella, slow-cooked meats, soups and lip-smacking bao buns. There will be craft beers from Prickly Moses and Apollo Bay Gin Distillery will be mixing up the cocktails.

As dusk descends, watch for the arrival of Dogwatch, a dreamlike performance of fire and light from an eclectic collection of local artists, dancers, musicians and general misfits (free event). For those kicking on through the night, Dane Blacklock & the Preacher’s Daughter will be causing all sorts of chaos at the Mechanics Hall and the Apollo Bay Sailing club will play host to Moongarden, with electronic maestros DJ Harvey Sutherland with Milo Eastwood and Post Percy.

Ease yourself into Sunday morning by joining Qigong  practitioner Dani Cullen who will realign your body’s energy with a Qigong session beside an open fire on the foreshore. Or come along to a coffee roasting workshop with the guys from Hello Coffee. Get your caffeine fill, whilst exploring the process of coffee making from bean to cup.

Festival Great Ocean Road

The rest of Sunday is designed to ease you gently back into reality with a celestial performance by local concert pianist Estelle Shircore Barker in a location only revealed with your ticket purchase. And artist Amy Tsilemanis will give you plenty to think about on the drive home with a creative oral history of the Apollo Bay region that was created as part of her artist residency for the Apollo Bay Museum with support from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund Fellowship program.


What: 2023 WinterWild
Where: Apollo Bay
When: August 25-27, 2023
More info: WinterWild


We wish to acknowledge the Eastern Maar people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
Every week we send you
our picks of the best
stuff happening outside
We will never share your information with a third-party.