The arts and music festival is back with live music, exhibitions and exciting events that will fire up your winter this July

Put your beanie and your best jacket on, as this year’s Creative Open is back, bigger and better than ever, featuring epic live music, comedy and interactive workshops to light up the cold winter evenings with the best entertainment.

In its third year, the Beaches winter arts and music festival will run from 25 to 28 July, with over 80 events across multiple venues around the peninsula. Plus, for the first time, the festival will feature a comedy, with the Comedy Gala in Manly and the Ava Fun Time live comedy at Avalon United Cinema.


Open Studios 

In Terrey Hills, art installations will be featured throughout the festival in the Eramboo Collective, which will be open for viewings while the artists work, from 10am to 4pm. On 27 July, visitors can immerse themselves in a one-night- only celebration at the free Illuminate Evening Exhibition. Projections, music and refreshments and a smoking ceremony at 6pm will be also part of the night.

Eramboo resident and Narrabeen local Ross Halfacree will present his artwork and welcome attendees to explore his creative process in more detail at his open studio.

Artist Ross Halfacree getting his latest paintings ready for the festival


“Visiting Eramboo will give the public a rare opportunity to directly engage with artists in their studio environments. I’ve seen instances where visitors have left Eramboo and subsequently inquired about the availability of space for them to explore their own creativity. In general, Eramboo is a very special creative environment to visit and explore,” he says.

As part of the pieces featured, Ross says that that will be a variety of works, including 2D and 3D pieces.

For over 60 years, Pittwater local artist Peter Blanchard has been working with wood. This will be his third time in the Creative Open, and he is excited to open his workshop once again.

“I started in a woodworking shop in primary school when I was nine years old. I jokingly say to people, ‘I wish I’d started earlier’. I’ve spent the best part of the last 60 years of my life working with timber.

“I think (Creative Open) is a fantastic initiative, and I’m very grateful to Northern Beaches Council for taking the initiative and trying to promote and support artists from the area.”


Live Music

Music will also be present throughout the festival, including Triple J legends Skunkhour, who, supported by The Toothpicks, will take you back with their timeless sound and iconic songs at Avalon Beach RSL.

Creative Open Live!, a concert featuring an epic line-up of local and international musical talent, will take place on The Corso in Manly.

Ellis Hall, lead singer of indie-pop band Loretta, will perform at the concert. Ellis, 26, studied guitar and vocals and has appeared on reality television shows. He finished in the top 10 of X Factor and has also appeared on The Voice Australia.

Ellis Hall

“This is our first time performing at Creative Open. We are really excited,” Ellis says.

“I grew up on the Northern Beaches, and I spent a lot of my time busking in Manly and playing in restaurants and pubs. It’s nice to be able to play there to people who have watched me grow as an artist and musician.”

Loretta has been together for six years and started out playing at a number of venues in Manly.

“Live music is so important to people, and the fact that council has put on this festival shows how people care about music. I think it’s going to bring people together. That’s the importance of it,” Ellis says.

“If you like music, if you like having fun and a good time, you should come to the festival. You won’t regret it.”

Ellis will play as a soloist on The Corso live stage, and Loretta will be part of the Freshie Palooza. After the festival, Loretta will go on their third tour, ‘all the way from Melbourne up to Brisbane’.

Come along and celebrate the Northern Beaches’ bourgeoning contemporary art scene this winter. Don’t miss this opportunity to open yourself to creativity and discover new sounds from our most vibrant, established, and emerging voices.


Festival highlights

  • ARIA award-winner Hayley Mary from The Jezabels will put on a free show at New Brighton’s Shark Bar on 27 July from 8pm.
  • Freshwater Brewing Company will host a four-day Freshie Palooza, featuring circus, talks, workshops and free live acts, including The Strides, Gold Fang, Ruby Jackson and Loretta.
  • Enjoy comedy at the Canned Laughter Winter Gala at 4 Pines Manly, featuring Daniel Muggleton, Laura Coleman, Elliott McLaren and Freddie McManus on 25 July from 7pm to 10pm.
  • Manly Library will host an Open Mic Night on 26 July from 5.30pm to 7pm. A Zine Fair will be held on 27 July from 11am to 3pm.
  • Enjoy happy hour at Manly Art Gallery and Museum on 26 July from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

Some more free events

  • Bookoccino: Authors and music collide on 25 July at 66 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, for an author’s evening from 5pm to 7pm and live music on 28 July at 10am and 5pm
  • For the Love of Wood: Peter Blanchard’s open studio for woodworking creations. From 9am to 5pm, at 230 McCarrs Creek Rd, Church Point
  • pod & pod open studio: Julie Hickson opens her studio on 27 and 28 July from 10am to 4pm at 3 Cecil Rd, Newport
  • Music at Mona Vale SLSC: 28 July from 4pm to 7pm at Mona Vale Surf Life Saving Club, 1 Surfview Rd, Mona Vale
  • Sand Sculpture competition at Newport Beach: the sand will become a canvas for sandcastles, dragons, or fortresses in a sand sculpture competition on 28 July from 10am at Newport SLSC.


For the full program, bookings and information, visit Northern Beaches Council website by clicking here