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Festival of Sails 2024

New 'Tipi on the Bay' entrance sets the scene for 2024 Festival of Sails

Visitors to this year’s 2024 Festival of Sails will be welcomed through a new ‘Tipi on the Bay’ entrance taking pride of place on Fairnie Park on the Geelong waterfront, as the Royal Geelong Yacht Club ramps up the excitement at the 181st running of the largest keelboat racing regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.

The new hospitality hotspot will feature an undercover outdoor bar and plenty of outdoor seating in front of one of the two key entertainment stages and will be the perfect place for friends and family to meet and enjoy the waterfront precinct during one of Geelong’s most vibrant weekends from Friday, January 26 to Sunday, January 28.

Festival of Sails Chairman, Paul Buchholz said the event was keen to draw more visitors into the party atmosphere and the new entrance was designed to be a more visible and tantalising welcome to one of Geelong’s key major events.

“We wanted to establish the atmosphere right up front where you can’t miss it and then invite people to wander through and join us at the RGYC clubhouse, where our main entertainment and presentation areas will be,” he said.

“This new area gives people more options about where they might choose to spend some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere.”

Dr Buchholz said it was important to remind people that while the Festival of Sails is still a ‘free’ event in 2024, it is also a ‘ticketed’ event after 6pm each day to manage the expected number of visitors to the site.

“We know people love coming down to the Festival for the great entertainment and all we have to offer, but we naturally also need to manage the number of visitors appropriately, so we ask people to go on-line and book their tickets now to make sure they don’t miss out on being able to get in,” he said.

“Tickets will be available via our website and people must be able to show us the confirmation QR code on their phone to come and join the party.”

“I urge everyone to book as soon as they can, because ticket numbers are limited and the policy for everyone’s safety and enjoyment is ‘no QR code, no entry’.”

 Festival of Sails crowd © Salty Dingo

Entertainment highlights at this year’s event include rock band Body Type, Aria winners Southern Sons, the Australian INXS Show, alongside fabulous new and emerging artists and family favourites, the Mik Maks and the Royal Australian Navy Band.

Friday, January 26 will also feature a fly over by the heritage RAAF 100 Squadron at 1pm, followed by the annual “Festival of Sails Fireworks” at 9.30pm to celebrate the opening of the regatta.

“We’ve also got our Discover Sailing experience on Eastern Beach on Saturday and beach volleyball firing up on the Friday and Saturday, along with fabulous market stalls and a new foredeck marquee experience with a bird’s eye view of the main performance stage, all combining to add to our great party atmosphere, at one of the premium sailing events in the world,” said Dr Buchholz.

“Why wouldn’t you want to be there!”

Event ticketing details can be found at

by Leigh McClusky

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