The long weekend is finally here so it’s time to relax and make the most of Daylesford’s ChillOut Festival.
From horse races to dance parties, food and wine events to comedy, live music to Carnival Day, there’s plenty on offer over the next few days.
We’ve picked some highlights from the ChillOut program to help you have a top weekend in Victoria’s spa country.
Don’t forget, there is a free shuttle bus service running throughout the four-day event to make sure you get to where you need to go safely and on time. Have fun!
Friday, March 9
Meet the locals
ChillOut’s four-day festival will kick off with an official opening party at Daylesford Town Hall on the Friday from 6pm. Everyone is welcome. Festivalgoers can enjoy a couple of drinks, meet the locals and mingle.
There are other events happening around town on Friday night, including a jazz night at Horvat’s Wine Bar, the opening of The Commitment Project art exhibtion at Sister George, and a performance by all-girl ’60s garage band The Shambelles at The Old Hepburn Hotel.
Saturday, March 10
ChillOut’s inaugural country race day is finally set to get galloping at the NMIT Kyneton Park racetrack on Saturday. Plenty of fun is planned trackside, including food and wine stalls, live music and a big screen to watch all the action from Flemington. There will be a free shuttle bus service from Daylesford to Kyneton during the day so festivalgoers can indulge in some local food and wine. From 1-5pm. Entry $15. Visit www.kyneton.countryracing.com.au
Saturday night will see the return of one of ChillOut’s most popular events, the annual bush dance, held at Daylesford Town Hall. Country band the Cartwheels will bring the Town Hall alive with traditional square dance favourites, as beginners and experts take to the floor in various hues of plaid. Dance caller Marshall Webb will lead dancers through the steps so there are no excuses not to get jiggy with it. Entry $20. Bookings essential.
For those who can’t make it to the bush dance, a great night of song has been planned at the Old Hepburn Hotel with Cream, featuring Sal Kimber, the Monique Brumby band, the Rosie Burgess Trio and more. See the fabulous Dolly Diamond on stage at The Palais or three gay comedians for the price of one at the Laugh Out Loud (LOL) Big Gay Comedy Night with Anthony Menchetti, Geraldine Quinn and Joel Creasey.
Sunday, March 11
It’s the biggest day on the ChillOut calendar and a huge day of entertainment is planned with cabaret icon Paul Capsis set to headline the event. Capsis will share the stage with alt-country rockers Sal Kimber and the Rollin’ Wheel and glamorous GH dancing boys Boylesque. ChillOut regular Dolly Diamond will return to the Carnival Day stage with partner-in-crime Luke Gallagher. There will be food and market stalls, and the annual dog show will get tails wagging. Don’t forget to say hello to the team at the Star Observer stall. Carnival Day takes place after the annual ChillOut street parade on Vincent St which starts at 10.30am. Carnival Day will be held at Victoria Park. Gates open 11am-6pm. Tickets $20 at the gate.
The ChillOut dance party is back and it’s time to dress up to the nines. This year’s theme is burlesque, so too much feathering, sequining, lace or glitter is not enough. Touted Melbourne DJ Peter ‘Mona’ McNamara will hit the decks to get the glam crowd moving to ‘gay anthems’ with his own blend of progressive house. McNamara is well known around the traps, having played over the years at the Laird Hotel, the (former) Market, ALSO parties and Mardi Gras.
Fellow Melbourne DJ Miss Eleni will join him. A special guest will perform at 9pm. On at Daylesford Town Hall. Doors open 8pm. Happy hour 8-9pm. Tickets $50.
Monday, March 12
Munch away your hangover at The Palais with a recovery brunch. Enjoy bacon and egg sandwiches, a light lunch or a Bloody Mary to clear the head. Brunch menu available from 10am-2pm. Entry free. After some nourishment, head to Sister George for a storytelling workshop with Anne E Stewart from 10am-12.20pm.