Free evening concerts at the Dunsborough Arts Festival

Sontay will perform at the Rhythms by the Bay concert in Dunsborough on Sunday evening of the long weekend. Image supplied.
Sontay will perform at the Rhythms by the Bay concert in Dunsborough on Sunday evening of the long weekend. Image supplied.

Free foreshore concerts will feature at the annual Dunsborough Arts Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year on Saturday and Sunday evenings of the March long weekend.

Festival organiser Jacquie Happ said the concerts were a great opportunity to picnic on the Dunsborough foreshore, while enjoying musical performances.

"If we get one of those magical Dunsborough summer evenings, the concerts and a picnic are a magical combination," she said.

"Warm jackets and a blanket are a good idea if there's a chill in the air. You'll still have a great night.

"There will be no BYO alcohol allowed at the festival concerts, but a bar will open for on-site sales at 5.30 pm each evening. Profits from the bar will help pay for performers and festival infrastructure.

"The Dunsborough Arts Festival is a massive community effort, with over one thousand hours of volunteer hours now involved in organising and coordinating it.

"We will kick off the Saturday Classics by the Bay concert on February 29 with a Priscilla, Queen of the Desert medley by students from Dance Works Dunsborough.

"Then we will bring on the main act, local band John Stringer and The Good Intentions.

"John Stringer brings a unique sound of classic soul music to the South West, after entertaining audiences with his astounding voice in the Perth music scene for the last 20 years.

"Now in the South West, he has teamed up for the concert with a diverse group of local musicians including bassist Bob Bruce, blues guitarist Steve Checker, jazz drummer Ben Clark, and Mel Janna Tuoma from Dunsborough jazz/swing band Local Vintage on keyboards and vocals."

The Good Intentions will perform classics made famous by singers such as Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and Bill Withers, along with a mix of more modern tunes with a soulful twists.

On Sunday the Rhythms by the Bay concert features Sontay and Dunsborough's seasoned headliners Dallas Radio.

Sonatay is a band of 14 and 15 year old's who already have two years of performing under the belts, after forming in Year 7 as part of Georgiana Molloy Anglican School's rock band.

Dunsborough Progress Association vice president Llewyn Green said people should not underestimate how good the young band is because of their ages.

"They perform publicly every chance they get. Members include Jack Collins on guitar, Ned Partington on guitar and bass, Ethan Sturk-Ralls on drums and Sofia Watt on vocals." he said.

"The band practices weekly in Jack's family shed in Quindalup, they are already writing and performing their own material.

"I regard them as the best new young band in the South West, and I believe they'd give emerging bands in Perth a good run for their money.

"Sofia is an exceptional young singer with great stage presence, and these young men are developing into high quality musicians."

Llewyn said the Bee Gees formed their first band before they were 10, John Lennon formed his first band when he was 16 and Paul McCartney was 15 when he joined Lennon's band.

"Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were both teenagers when they formed the Rolling Stones. Many members of the great bands started out very young like Sonatay.

"The Sunday night Dunsborough Arts Festival concert on March 1 will be a great chance to hear them perform. One day people might be saying how they lucky they were to see Sonatay in its infancy."

Llewyn said he expected Sonatay's music to be very popular with the festival crowd, with a mix of classic rock and new favourites.

The Sunday night Arts Festival concert begins on the Dunsborough Foreshore at 5.45pm.

Sonatay will be followed by Dunsborough's seasoned headliners Dallas Radio at 7.15pm with lead singer Mitch Baker, Evan Smith on drums, Jason Mack on guitar and Justin Mason on bass.

Dallas Radio is fresh from the National Oktoberfest in the Gardens Festival circuit in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, playing to crowds of more than 40,000 people.

The band will take a break during their performance for the festival fireworks display at 7.45pm.

Ms Happ said the fireworks have been sponsored by local identity Dianne Laurance.

"During the fireworks display, we will have volunteers moving through the audience, asking for gold coin donations," she said.

Money raised will go towards the development of the Djiljit Mia Nature Space, an aboriginal-themed community gathering place in Central Dunsborough adjacent to Hannay Lane.

The Dunsborough Progress Association project will incorporate sculpture, artworks, and nature-based play features.