Spice it up at Riverfeast

The Chilli 'n' Lime Festival brings plenty of colour and excitement to Riverfeast.

By Angela Norval

We’ve all heard of things going off with a bang, but the opening event for the Taste Bundaberg Festival will bring a little heat and a tonne of spice instead.

An event that’s drawn large crowds to Riverfeast for several years, the Chilli ‘n’ Lime Festival starts tonight at 5pm and has an exciting and colourful line-up from the moment visitors enter the gate.

Riverfeast owner Karen Wittkopp started the festival right back in the Winterfeast days, when she was looking for something entertaining that would also factor in some local flavours.

“Considering how our region continues to be well known for its chilli crops both locally and in the international export market, I thought it was only fitting, and limes are also a bumper local crop,” she said.

“As well as being grown locally, they are ideal to heat up our visitors during the cooler times and are easy to cook with and create some pretty amazing flavours.

“Riverfeast is an ideal venue for this kind of event as it provides an open and relaxed backdrop and we have been able to bring some really good quality food vendors to represent the theme well.

“It is amazing the chilli and or lime inspired food creations that local food vendors create with anything from tacos to nachos, chilli lime barramundi, chilli choc gelato, lime sorbet, lime margaritas, chilli and lime cider from Cheeky Tikki Cider (Ohana Cidery), and Chilli Vodka cocktails; the list goes on.

“We have taken Riverfeast in a different direction since last year and it is really about bringing more events and functions to this riverside paradise; so we are proud to be the launch event of the Taste Bundaberg Festival that represents so much of what we are well known for great community events and showcasing our amazing agricultural industry.”

Organisers are most excited to welcome Brisbane-based Afro-Cuban salsa ensemble Chukale to the event, accompanied by dancers from the Cuban Dance Company.

Directed by percussionist and singer Gustavo Cereijo, Chukale has been delighting Australian audiences since 2005.

A benchmark for Latin music in Australia, Chukale has supported international salsa icons Sonora Carruseles from Colombia, Venezuela’s Grammy Award-winners Los Amigos Invisibles, and Grammy Award-winning Cuban cultural institutions Los Van, Chucho Valdes’ Afro-Cuban Messengers and Juan De Marcos’ Afro-Cuban All Stars.

The band has built its reputation performing at a variety of venues and events, such as Cloudland, Woodford Folk Festival, Splendour in the Grass, Sydney Salsa Congress and the Byron Bay Fiesta.

As well as Gustavo, Chukale brings Alex Nesevski on timbales, Sacha Kloostra on drums, Luis Manuel Basulto on percussion, Justin Sinclair on bass, Christo ‘El Pulpo’ Iconomidis on piano, Zac Chambers on trumpet, Joshua Sinclair on trumpet, Shane Hannah on trombone, Ben Young on trombone, Ivania Siguenza on lead vocals and Maykel Martos on lead vocals.

There will also be well-known flamenco guitarist Al Davies sharing his beautiful sounds, salsa demonstrations and plenty of fun.

A broad range of local businesses will showcase their wares with markets stalls, chilli and lime inspired food, drink, live entertainment and action.

Only those who have registered at riverfeast.com.au/events may attend this free event, and are asked to show a print out or phone screen shot of their registration confirmation at gate entry.

There is no ATM for cash-out onsite but paying by card is permitted.

Keep an eye out on the Riverfeast socials for the next big event.