22 June 2023

Kiama festival serves up culture and clearer pathways for emerging musicians

| Kellie O'Brien
Start the conversation
Xavier Rudd will perform at the Clearly Festival

Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd will grace the stage at Kiama’s Clearly Music, Arts and Wellness Festival in November. Photo: Supplied.

Dom Furber has wanted to put on a music festival in his hometown of Kiama since he left Gerringong 13 years ago to produce his first event in Sydney Harbour.

Now, having hosted lavish boat parties in Sydney, sell-out music retreats in Ibiza and music holidays in Fiji, he’s announced he’ll return home with his first large-scale music, art and wellness festival in Kiama on 11 November.

Clearly Music, Arts and Wellness Festival will be a three-stage, all-ages music festival in the waterfront setting of Kiama Showgrounds.

Tickets went on sale this month and are already selling fast.

READ ALSO Two new faces help shape sculpture festival’s happy return to Kangaroo Valley

The line-up boasts iconic singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd, ARIA-nominated surf and garage rock trio Skegss, through to the Illawarra’s Big Twisty and the Funknasty, and Wollongong-born and ARIA Gold-awarded artist Tyne-James Organ.

“We aim to curate a diverse lineup that appeals to various musical tastes while staying true to the festival’s essence,” Dom said.

It will be further enhanced by showcasing Illawarra’s talented art and wellness community.

The event will also include the one-day Clearer Workshop at the Kiama Pavilion the day prior, involving a conference and collaborative learning experience for emerging musicians, led by the biggest names in the industry.

Dom said the inspiration for the two-day event came during COVID and after a long-held desire to deliver a festival of this scale locally.

“I was born in the area, attended primary school in Gerringong and high school in Kiama, so have close ties to the local community,” he said.

“I have wanted to produce a festival in my hometown since I left Gerringong in 2010 and produced my first event on Sydney Harbour, but it came to life a few years ago in the pandemic when I was back home with my family.”

Clearly Festival organisers Dom Furber and Gregory Phillips

Dom Furber (left) will return to his hometown of Kiama to host the two-day Clearly Festival and Clearly Workshop with Gregory Phillips (right) from Henry Clive Bar. Photo: Supplied.

The idea was further cemented when he saw a need for the event while producing three back-to-back Ruby Fields shows in Kiama in 2021 and Felipe Baldomir in Gerringong.

He collaborated on the idea with Gregory Phillips from Henry Clive Bar, which caters for events and weddings on the South Coast.

“Henry Clive Bar and I share a passion for music, creativity, and community engagement,” Dom said.

“I went to primary school in the area with Greg’s kids, we have produced multiple events together and have a shared vision for organising unique events that blend music, art, and wellness.”

Dom has run festival events and worked with major artists in exotic locations around the world, but said Kiama’s Clearly Festival would be different.

“Kiama sets itself apart from other music events I’ve organised due to its diverse offerings and the integration of art and wellness,” he said.

“By incorporating art exhibitions and wellness activations, we aim to provide attendees with a well-rounded experience that nurtures their minds, body, and soul.”

He said art and wellness benefitted attendees’ wellbeing and are particularly important given the mental health pandemic facing the younger generation in a post-COVID world.

READ ALSO Giving unwanted donations a second life helps Lifeline save lives

While the wellness program is still being finalised, punters can expect meditation workshops, reiki, crystal stalls and healing practices to recharge and find balance.

Along with the Kiama festival, Dom has a demanding schedule of world events, touring and tech, fuelling his own need to prioritise self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

He said he’d been able to achieve this thanks to one of his partners Barron Hanson, who was a Vedic meditation teacher.

“He also produced a documentary in Nowra called By Here Nowra on the benefits and flow on when you get 1 per cent of the population meditating,” he said of Barron.

“I am an avid 20-minute, twice-a-day meditator, on top of surfing, saunas and ice bath practices.

“Incorporating wellness into my events reflects my values and aligns with the growing trend of promoting holistic wellbeing.

“As the cliche saying goes, health is wealth.”

Tyne-James Organ will perform at the Clearly Festival

Wollongong-born ARIA Gold-awarded artist Tyne-James Organ will perform at the Clearly Music, Arts and Wellness Festival at Kiama in November. Photo: Supplied.

He said the rich cultural heritage of Kiama and being “the most beautiful festival site in Australia” would only add to the experience for festivalgoers.

“Kiama has a supportive local community and a thriving arts scene, which aligns well with the festival’s values and objectives,” he said.

“Holding the event in Kiama allows us to contribute to the local economy and showcase the town’s unique charm to attendees.

“Kiama and the surrounding region has produced some incredible talent.

“Through the Clearer workshops, we want to discover more talent and help start their pathways to a future within the industry.”

The workshops are specifically designed for musicians, performers, songwriters, rappers, producers and DJs.

The biggest names in the music business will offer attendees invaluable industry knowledge, artist development advice, and opportunities to help grow their artistry and amplify their projects.

“The path into the music industry isn’t often clear and we’re aiming to make it ‘clearer’.”

Clearly Festival takes place on 11 November 2023. Tickets to the festival and the Clearer Workshop on 10 November are now on sale on the website.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Illawarra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Illawarra stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.