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WA Circus Festival returns with sell-out weekend of entertainment

At the purpose built 'Karnidale' event site in the South West town of Karridale, the festival offers a combination of circus performance, live music and art. Photo: Supplied
At the purpose built 'Karnidale' event site in the South West town of Karridale, the festival offers a combination of circus performance, live music and art. Photo: Supplied

The return of Karnidale, the WA Circus Festival has prompted a rush on tickets, with the popular event selling out well ahead of opening this weekend.

Held at the purpose-built festival site in the South West town of Karridale, the festival offers a combination of circus performance, live music and art.

Founder, director and internationally renowned circus performer Matt Yates - aka Fatt Matt - said the magic of the festival got under the skin of attendees, who find themselves returning year after year.

"You'll come and just go into another world," he said of the first impressions people enjoyed as they walked through the gates.

Circus, music and more: Karnidale is home to five big tops, an amphitheatre stage, a converted double decker bus venue, and the Dr Reg Bolton Cabaret Bar. Photos: Supplied

Circus, music and more: Karnidale is home to five big tops, an amphitheatre stage, a converted double decker bus venue, and the Dr Reg Bolton Cabaret Bar. Photos: Supplied

"There's music happening everywhere, there's market stalls, have a go workshops. There's loads of great shows, some absolutely unique venues and an experience to be had at every turn."

The weekend offers free camping to ticketholders, which proves extremely popular for holiday makers and locals during the region's busiest tourist season.

This year's event has been limited to Friday and Saturday in an effort to best highlight the WA talent available.

"As a result of COVID-related travel restrictions, Karnidale's 2022 line-up will give centre stage to amazing local talent. This doesn't mean the festival will be any less extraordinary," said Yates.

'Fatt' Matt Yates, festival founder, director and internationally renowned circus performer. Photo: Supplied

'Fatt' Matt Yates, festival founder, director and internationally renowned circus performer. Photo: Supplied

"This year has been a bit of an anomaly with scheduling acts. With no international acts, we can focus on the best of Western Australia."

The festival draws around 1500 revellers every year, keen to take in the circus shows, live music and DJs as well as market stalls, food trucks, and plenty of hands on workshops for kids guided by Karnidale coaches.

Yates said the event had kickstarted the international careers of many local performers, who have honed their skills at the Lunar Circus Summer School, held onsite in the lead up to the festival.

"It's a really highly respected event within the Australian circus industry, because it has spawned so many great performers," he said.

"A lot of those kids are now off touring the world with international companies and they've had the opportunity to have access to some of the most awesome international artists that we have invited to Karnidale over the years.

"The training is just fantastic, it's awesome for the kids, they get so much out of it.

"Then leading through to all of the actual shows during the festival for the community to enjoy, it's all brilliant."

Karnidale kicks off this Friday January 14 and continues into Saturday January 15. Tickets are sold out, visit www.lunarcircus.com and www.facebook.com/circusfestival for more information about the festival.