The Village Festival

The Village Festival, Australia’s oldest touring arts festival, has been enthralling audiences for over two decades. With its roots in celebrating emerging, diverse, and experimental regional artists, the festival has become a symbol of artistic expression and cultural exchange, reaching countless communities across the nation. 


Having hosted over 59 festivals in various locations, including Horsham, Melbourne, Marion Bay, Lorne, Byron Bay, Canberra, Melton, Launceston, Castlemaine, Ballarat, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, and Benalla, The Village Festival has left an indelible mark on the Australian cultural landscape. Its commitment to community art and activation has seen the successful execution of 31 significant projects, ranging from venue creation to contemporary art experiments. 


One of the key highlights of The Village Festival is the Dream Big Festival in Melton, designed specifically for children. Produced in collaboration with the Royal Children’s Hospital, this event offers a unique platform for kids to explore their artistic interests and engage with the creative process. 

Another shining example of The Village Festival’s dedication to diverse cultural experiences is the Moon Lantern Festival. This large-scale, multi-day outdoor event celebrates the vibrant heritage of various communities, fostering a sense of unity and shared identity. 


The Fire Garden, a groundbreaking production, exemplifies the festival’s commitment to showcasing First Nations stories. Featuring large puppets, fireworks, and live music, this immersive experience weaves together a captivating narrative that resonates with audiences of all ages. 


The Village Festival’s mission reflects its unwavering commitment to art and community. Striving to cultivate original, adventurous, and accessible art, the festival targets audiences often overlooked by mainstream touring circuits. With a focus on art that is created with, by, and for the community, The Village Festival actively fosters modern Australia’s diverse spectrum. 


These utopian playgrounds, as the festival’s organisers describe them, serve as places of celebration where curiosity, creativity, beauty, and personal connection flourish. By using creative skills to connect, include, strengthen, and empower communities, The Village Festival continues to shape the artistic and cultural landscape of Australia. 

The Village Mission

The Village Festival, Australia's oldest touring arts festival, celebrates diverse regional artists & communities.

Our operating principals

1. Co-create with locals

The Village actively involves local people in the co-creation of our festivals to genuinely reflect and celebrate the uniqueness of our host community. Community engagement is long, slow, and organic.

2. Celebrate Diversity

The Village gives diverse artists autonomy of creative expression. 

3. Welcoming

The Village welcomes audiences as participants in our utopian playgrounds to be curios, free, and creative.

Our Team

Key Staff

Stuart Vaskess

Festival Director

Stuart directs all Village production, logistics and builds. He is primarily a visual artist, with a keen interest in mechanics, people-powered machines and large-scale design. Stuart was a founding member of Snuff Puppets and of Splinter Theatre of Spectacle in Canberra. He has extensive expertise in fabrication and installation of sets, props and machinery. With Suzanne, Stu is responsible for the established aesthetics and vision of The Village Festival and its related projects. 

Suzanne Kalk

Artistic Director

Suzanne co-founded theVillage in 2004. She is committed to creating innovative and exciting arts events and artworks that follow the ideals of inclusion, sharing and community. This often involves combining outstanding art with community activities in ways that make arts practices more inclusive with outcomes that foster community and connection. She is an expert in community engagement and visual design.

She has directed The Piers Festival for Multicultural ArtsVictoria,taught design and Theatre Arts at Ballarat TAFE Theatre Arts, co-founded the Bep Baii Circus in Pakistan, and has worked as a puppet, set and costume designer for the Snuff Puppets. Suzanne has also been a freelance artist working as a designer and a workshop facilitator for many festivals and events. Over The last few years Suzanne been a designer, artist and project manager of the Desert Harmony Festival in Tennant Creek NT.

The Village Board

David Pidd

David Pidd is a graduate of The Victorian College of the Arts and over 40 years has worked with some of Australia’s premier and award winning theatre companies, making, performing and touring shows, nationally and internationally. An Ensemble member of Polyglot Theatre and for nearly two decades, has worked as an Artistic Associate and MC for The Village Festival

Emma Fayelecaun

Emma is a multi-disciplinary artist, a community arts facilitator and an art therapist. Her work spans traditional artmaking methods, lens and screen based media, movement, performance and creative writing. She has worked in diverse arts workshops and events in Ireland, with refugee support groups in Jordan, community gallery management and curation in Lismore and Wollongong and is the co-facilitator for Melbourne women's poetry association Radio Laria.

Emmas holds a Bachelor of Visual Art, and Master in Art Therapies with her major being Community Arts.

The work in D&I that Emma does with The Village is about recognising the value in diverse communities, honouring individual experience and creating equitable spaces that are accessible, safe and meaningful for all.

Gavin Findlay

Gavin is a highly experienced musician and event producer now based in Far North Queensland and is active in advocacy and policy development for the arts. He took the Village to Canberra in 2013 and 2017.

Lucy Best

Lucy Best is an Australian-based British comedian, MC, writer and producer with a passion for environmental and social justice. She performs Stand Up Comedy, Cabaret, Music and Theatre around Australia and internationally. Lucy’s work regularly includes her hilarious hot takes on themes of feminism, mental health, social justice, sex positivity and gender and sexual diversity. Lucy is also an expert in community engagement, with over twenty years experience in the not-for profit sector.

Nick Wilson

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The Village Festival

The Village Festival, Australia’s oldest touring arts festival, celebrates diverse regional artists and communities. Notable events include the Dream Big Festival for children, the cultural Moon Lantern Festival, and the First Nations spectacle, The Fire Garden. The festival’s mission highlights original, accessible art, fostering curiosity, creativity, and community connections. 


+61 (03) 5473 4426

18 Turner Street


VIC 3451



Contact The Village Festival