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Manly Vibe

Home > Sydney > Free | Festivals | Family | Art | Music
by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
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Imbibe the vibe at Manly's premier community festival
Manly Vibe

Manly's much touted, highly anticipated Manly Vibe Festival will herald in spring with 18 days of arty, musical, theatrical, foodie, beach and cycling fun from 14 September to 1 October 2012. It brings together under one umbrella all of Manly's favourite festivals including Manly Arts Festival, Manly Jazz Festival, Bike Life Festival and the Sydney Chamber Music Festival.

Manly Vibe
Manly Vibe brings together the Manly Arts Festival, Manly Jazz Festival, Bike Life Festival and Sydney Chamber Music Festival. Image from

Manly Arts Festival

Manly Arts Festival runs from Friday 14 September to Monday 1 October, and it isn't just confined to Manly, or even art, for that matter. This is northern Sydney's favourite grassroots community festival. It brings art to the people and vice versa with a strong community feel and a sharp, cultural focus that reaches adults, kids and those who know nothing about art.

The full program can be downloaded here but I've picked some of the highlights from this year's massive program.

The Great Wall of Manly where a collaborative art wall with works from noted street artists will grow during the festival at Manly Art Gallery and Museum.

Easels on the Esplanade where local artists will set up their easels and paint, and display and sell their artworks at an outdoor market on Saturday 15 September.

The 24/7 Youth Film Festival where films entered in the young people's film making competition will screen on Wednesdays 5 and 12 September and Sunday 16 September for a gold coin donation.

Northern Beaches Open Studio Weekend on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September from 10 am to 4pm. Find out what the life of an artist is really like when they throw open the doors of their studios.

The Lantern Parade and Family Picnic will have a picnic start followed by live music, the lantern procession to Manly Cove, and more music to finish up outside Manly Art Gallery and Museum. From 5pm to 8pm on Saturday 29 September.

Lantern Parade. Image from

Manly Jazz Festival

Manly Jazz Festival is an October long weekend tradition that blends smooth and mellow sounds from first class jazz performers with a sparkling, spring beachside atmosphere and an audience approaching 45,000 people. This year marks its thirty-fifth anniversary, making it the longest running jazz festival in Australia. It ruins from Saturday 29 September to Monday 1 October.

The full program will be released closer to the date but the event always attracts the cream of Australian and international jazz artists. Last year's headline acts included saxophone legend Charles McPherson and Japanese chanteuse, Charito and saw more than 70 performances, most of them free, at a range of venues such as Manly Wharf Forecourt, the big Ocean Beachfront Stage and The Corso. Check here for further information.

If you really want to feel the festival fizz the organisers are currently looking for volunteers to help with various aspects of the event. You can download a Volunteer Registration form here.

Bike Life Festival

The Bike Life Festival this year celebrates 111 years of Manly cycling in the clean, crisp salty air. On 23 September join other cycling enthusiasts on the shores of Manly Lagoon for a range of bike-related activities.

Date: Sunday 23 September from 8am
Venue: Manly Lagoon Park, east side of Pittwater Rd.
Details: Visit the Manly Environment Centre here for the full program.

Highlights will include:

a commemorative ride from Manly to Winnererremy Bay, Pittwater to celebrate the opening of the then world's longest public bike path in 1901.

a Retro Ride and Barbecue hosted by Manly Environment Centre with prizes for the Best Retro Outfit and the Best Dressed Bike. Let you imaginations run (or should that be cycle?) wild.

a one hour family loop ride around Manly Lagoon.

Sydney Chamber Music Festival

This year's Sydney Chamber Music Festival is titled "Just Different" and it will be living up to its name with performances on long forgotten instruments such as a Serpent and a Ophicleide (seen in the image below).

There will be two concerts at Manly Art Gallery and Museum:
- On Friday 21 September at 7pm you will hear the Volatinsky Trio

- On Saturday 22 September, also at 7pm, the program, entitled Forgotten Instruments, will feature Scott Kinmont, Nick Byrne and David Miller.

Bookings are available online here. Tickets for one concert cost $35 for adults, $30 concession and $10 for children or subscription tickets granting entry to both concerts cost $60 for adults, $50 concession and $15 for children.
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Why? Feel that Manly Vibe
When: From Friday 14 September to Monday 1 October.
Where: Various venues in Manly and Sydney's Northern Beaches.
Cost: Varies. Most events are free.
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