South West entertainment and lifestyle at your fingertips

What's On South West has launched. Image Sophie Elliott.
What's On South West has launched. Image Sophie Elliott.

Hey There!

Thanks for visiting our page. 

You may be thinking What’s On South West has popped up out of nowhere, however this is not the case.

What’s On South West is a collaborative initiative from the Busselton Dunsborough Mail, Bunbury Mail and Augusta Margaret River Mail to give readers an exclusively entertainment and lifestyle go-to news point.

To explain more, we put questions to What’s On South West coordinator Sophie Elliott.

1. What is What’s On South West? 

What’s On South West is an entertainment and lifestyle guide for residents and visitors to the region.

What’s South West aims to be more than just a gig guide or a calendar, giving readers an insight to the artists and events that are coming their way.

What’s On South West will cover the happenings in the major hubs of Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River and everywhere in between. 

2. Why was What’s On South West created and how did the idea come about?

What’s On South West was created to give our followers who enjoy reading about lifestyle and entertainment an exclusive arena to do so.

I’ve always loved anything entertainment – movies, music, television, art, you name it. 

My background as a journalist began in a regional area where I soon was able to explore my love of the arts as the entertainment reporter. 

It was the greatest gig a 19 year old cadet journalist could have and it taught me that when it comes to quality acts, you don’t have to be in a metropolitan area. 

Having recently moved to Busselton, I’ve been blown away by all the cool venues in the region and can barely keep up myself. 

For me, I know that if there is a show on or an act I really wanted to see, I would travel to see it. 

If I still lived in Perth, I would be travelling at least 30 minutes in to the city to see a show.

We are so lucky here in the South West to attract such awesome entertainment acts and events.

I thought perhaps I’m not the only one, maybe there are others who love music like I do, love wining and dining, or seeing great theatre and want to know what is going on not just on their doorstop, but down at their neighbours as well.​

I wanted to create a site where others could see what’s on in the region as a whole – not just in Bunbury, not just Busselton/ Margaret River, not just at one venue. 

As much as each of these places have their own scene and identity, they all offer something amazing for entertainment and lifestyle fans. 

3. How do you know and keep up with everything that is happening?

I don’t!

The only thing I’ve consistently kept up with in my life is the Kardashians.

This is a situation where I want and need people in the community to call me… no maybes.

I hope venues and artists see this as an opportunity for us to help them promote the great work they are doing to people that may not be aware otherwise.

Covering the amount of entertainment on in this region is a mammoth task.

Luckily, we have teams in Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River excited to keep their community in the loop with What’s On.

That being said, even with our best efforts contacting venues and keeping our eye on social media for tours, we don’t know if people don’t tell us.

I really urge people in the entertainment and lifestyle community in the South West region to reach out to us so we can work together because What’s On is for the community, no one else.

This is a passion project.

Sophie Elliott at the John Lennon Peace Wall in Prague.

Sophie Elliott at the John Lennon Peace Wall in Prague.

It sounds like you really love entertainment. Help us get to know you better by answering a few questions.

Music or movies?

That’s a hard one. 

To me, it’s like asking which one of my non-existent children that I like more.

You just can’t ask that.

But if I had to I would say….Gosh, it is hard, I feel like I am betraying someone.

I would say music.

I couldn’t get through a day without music, I’m not sure many people could.

I love that music can transport you to a different time and place.

How when you hear a song it reminds you of someone or something.

Luckily, I only have one song tainted by bad memories and it is a Pitbull track so it is a good excuse to skip it.

That being said, I want to give a shout out to movies, and people like me who have an unhealthy habit of being able to quote them from beginning to end. 

I love how film can be something light and funny, an escape, but it can also cause us to reflect on the world we live and learn something about society.

As you can probably tell, I could talk about these things all day.

What are you listening to right now?

Goodness, I wish you didn’t ask.

I’m not sure I want the whole world to know that I own Taylor Swift’s Reputation – like actually bought the CD (I know old school!).

My taste is so varied – I know everyone says that, but it is true.

Old school to Australia indie – you name it, I’ll give it a go.

I’m not going to lie, and I have never hid the fact, that I follow the commercial charts.

So, I would listen to either Spotify Australia and UK Top 50s once a day as well as new release recommendations based on my listening history.

However, one of my favourite things is coming across new artists or up-and-comers.

Busselton boys, the Broadbent Brothers are an example of that.

I was really impressed with their sound when I heard them at the City of Busselton’s Battle of the Bands.

I’m also loving Alison Wonderland’s latest drop, Church, and Gang of Youths’ Let Me Down Easy.

Both of these are on repeat – so as you can see my taste makes no sense.

Lastly, I’m quietly obsessed with two Melbourne artists that I was lucky enough to meet last year.

One is EDM producer Carda and the other is indie synth-pop artist, Cirillo.

The quality of everything, from production to lyrics, in Cirillo’s debut record, Where Life Is Fun, leaves me speechless.

I don’t know why his name isn’t everywhere yet.

Word on the street is, a collaboration is coming from Carda and Cirillo.

If that’s the case, a Melbourne music trip might be in order or I’m going to beg for a WA tour.

Clearly you are a big music fan. What are some of the best acts you’ve seen live or best festivals you’ve attended?

There is still so much to do festival-wise, but to be honest I think my festival days are over.

But every time a Coachella, Reading or Glastonbury line-up drops I get the urge.

I went to my first festival at 14, it was a Big Day Out, (I went to pretty much all the Big Day Outs that followed). 

I remember thinking it was so cool because I missed the first day of Year 10 – what a legend.

I only go to go because my older sister was going.

I don’t think she was impressed, she had to wait until she was older to go and all of sudden her little sister was tagging along.

It was a big deal to me because I lived in Geraldton so it was an eye opener.

I’ve been lucky enough to live overseas for a few years so I hate to be that person but the festivals over there are really next level.

A highlight for me was the now defunct Oxegen Music Festival.

It was six stages and it was one of the most ridiculous line-ups I’ve ever seen, just believeable.

To give you an idea, I’m about to name drop.

Arcade Fire, Jay-Z, Stereophonics, Vampire Weekend ,The Black Keys, Eliza Doolittle, Muse, Kasabian, Dizzee Rascal, Florence & the Machine, Two Door Cinema Club, Eminem (yep, you read that right), Newton Faulkner, Earth, Wind & Fire (life changing), Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Plan B, Drake, The Black Eyed Peas, Rise Against, The Prodigy, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Temper Trap, D12, Professor Green, David Guetta, Goldfrapp, Empire of the Sun, Calvin Harris, Hot Chip, Gossip, La Roux, Elli Goulding, Mumford & Sons, Kate Nash, Bombay Bicycle Club, 3OH!3, Hozier, Laura Marling, Hilltop Hoods, Example, Tinie Tempah, Gabriella Cilmi, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Steve Aoki, Steve Angello and Chase & Status.

Sziget in Budapest would be my pick for current European festivals.

I’ve also done the whole Ibiza experience, saw the likes of Tiesto, paid $20 for a bottle of water.

Seeing Blink 182 in Dublin was also amazing.

They went on the break-up, but prior to that they did do Soundwave in Australia.

However, drummer Travis Barker didn’t travel due to his fear of flying so I’ve always been pretty stoked to have seen all three of them on stage together.

Venue-wise, watching live music in Cavern Club in Liverpool was very cool.

Locally, I used to love Southbound and I am really impressed by the Groovin The Moo line-up this year – like Paul Kelly, come on!

Again, showing my broad taste and perhaps my age, I also loved West Coast Blues and Roots in Fremantle – I saw Ben Harper and Paul Simon one year.

Russell Morris playing The Real Thing live was sweet.

And if anyone ever heads up north near Geraldton, they should check out Nukara Music Festival in March.

It is a small boutique festival with a natural amphitheatre setting, the stage is surrounded by river red gum trees.

It is very beautiful and you can feel the love that goes into it.

Are you musical yourself?

No, not all.

I could probably play Hot Cross Buns on the recorder.

People often remark that I must have a voice for blues singing, because my voice is deep and husky.

They are sorely mistaken.

I’m much better at dancing and enjoying music than being involved in it.