Updated: Jul 10
✦ 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.
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.
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.
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!”