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Take a bow Gordo Gamsby and Lucy Frost

Updated: Jul 10, 2022

✦ World class entertainment, cabaret, comedy, circus, Port Macquarie's inaugural byTORTUGA Festival had it all.

Festival producer Gordo and his wife circus performer Lucy, are to be congratulated profusely. What an event they brought together in the amazing venue - the art deco Aurora Spiegeltent.

Gordo Gambsy and Lucy Frost as featured in Brilliant-Online
Gordo Gamsby and Lucy Frost

Acrobats, plate spinners, comedians and jazz singers, an eclectic mix of artists never seen before in the Port Macquarie Hastings region, wowed the audience at Port Macquarie's inaugural TORTUGA Festival.

From the Opening Gala on Friday June 10 through to the Grand Finale on June 19, the daring and sometimes risqué arts festival was jam-packed. Some of the awe inspiring performances were from Queen of the Hula Hoops Lilikoi Koas, multi-award-winning stunts from Head First Acrobats, death defying sword swallowing from Elle Diablo and cabaret shows featuring the darling of ABC Jazz (and formerly of Playschool fame), Monica Trapaga.

In addition to the show programme there were outdoor, roving performances, circus and community workshops. Younger members of the community were thrilled by a variety of performances including Best of Kids Cabaret, Dr Hubble's Bubble Show and Arr We There Yet by Head First Acrobats.

Queues outside the Aurora Spiegeltent as featured in Brilliant-Online
Photo: Brad Collins. Queues outside the Aurora Spiegeltent

A spiegeltent (Dutch for “mirror tent”, from spiegel+tent) is a large travelling tent, constructed from wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, intended as an entertainment venue.

Curated and produced by 11 times Guinness world record holder Gordo Gamsby

He has travelled the world performing in the circus as a strongman and sword swallower! He met his circus performing wife, Lucy Frost (originally from the UK), whilst performing in Western Australia six years ago and they continued travelling the world performing together. Now they have settled in Port Macquarie and have a 2-year-old son, Spike.

When asked why he organised the Tortuga Festival in the first place Gordo said, “A few reasons. I grew up here and have always thought an arts festival like Tortuga would be a great addition to Port Macquarie. After being a touring artist for about 20 years, I was ready to slow down and stay in one place a bit more, but I still wanted the part of my life where I was at festivals to continue.”

For Gordo, starting a festival where he could see all his performer friends and share performance and art with the people of the Port Macquarie region seemed like a logical step.

“I am so glad the people that came agreed,” he told us.

Tortuga Show as featured in Brilliant-Online
Photo: Brad Collins. Tortuga Show

There was truly something for everyone

In it’s first year, Gordo and Lucy tried to make an inclusive space to demonstrate what the festival can be and how it will benefit the community and greater area. “I have taken inspiration from many arts festivals around the world and combined it with a community spirit,” Gordo explained.

Performers travelled from far and wide to be involved. “To get truly world class performances across multiple genres, you really have to find performers from all around the world. Lilikoi Kaos is one of my longest friendships in the performer world, she came directly from Hawaii to Port Macquarie to host the Untamed Cabarets, and has left straight from here to go on a world tour with another show she is part of, the ‘Hot Brown Honeys'. Maybe next year we can have that show!”

The first Festival of it’s type in Port Macquarie

Gordo told us, “As far as I’m aware there was no negative feedback, which is amazing. I think that in itself shows Port Macquarie and this festival can grow and become a Mid North Coast staple event.”

Crowd numbers grew over the festival. “This year we had to show people what this kind of festival actually is, as you have said nothing like this has happened in the area before," said Gordo. "It took a few days before the tickets started moving, but we are very happy with how it all went and we are still receiving messages from people telling us how much they enjoyed their time at Tortuga.”

The power couple, Gordo and Lucy hope to make Tortuga an annual event, one that will grow to benefit the entire town. “This festival is going to continually evolve and include different art styles and performances, so in its nature it will grow and morph. The next festival will be held at a slightly different time of year, so watch this space!”

Thank you from Gordo and Lucy

“We acknowledge the traditional custodians the Biripai Peoplepeople and look forward to their continued involvement, Inphase Productions, Supportmacquarie, GPMTA, Foreshore Markets, Magnum Haulage, PMHC, Brookvale Union, Arts Mid North Coast, Hastings Co-op, Round and Round, Rotary, and Alison Neville our Production Manager, couldn’t have done it without her.”

Tortuga Festival - Untamed bow
Photo: Brad Collins. Tortuga Festival - Untamed bow


Gordo Gamsby

11 Times Guinness World Record Holder

Sword Swallower, Neon Tube Sword Swallower, Cigar Box Manipulator,

Juggler, fire performer, suspension artist

Contemporary Sideshow Artist


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