Botanica An Event in the Gardens

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The Heart and Soul Foundation runs much-needed health and wellbeing programmes that assist vulnerable women who are recovering from severe trauma. The programmes are targeted at helping vulnerable women rebuild their self-esteem and confidence, particularly in order to re-enter the workplace, study, as well as the community and the wider world.

Can you briefly describe the event and what we can expect on the night?

As you enter the Botanic Gardens, you’ll be immersed in the atmosphere of roving musicians and arts performers amongst an elegant boho-style picnic set-up. It will showcase a bunch of our own local creative talent, along with various Sydney, Melbourne and Byron Bay artists coming on board for the night. Think summer music festival meets coastal cool! You can sample bushtucker foraged from the gardens by a celebrity chef, or you can explore the market stall lane, craft beer alley and food truck circle. 

As the sun sets and the beats pick up, the main stage and lawn will transform into a fashion runway, showcasing clothes by regional and local designers for women (and boys and girls!) of all ages. The party will then truly get kicking, with fire dancing, DJs, bands and more. 

Where did the idea for the event come from?

Botanica is a totally collaborative event. We – Jane Tavener, Lindsay Russell, Lisa Daniel and Sarah Poole – all know each other via local business women’s networking groups. We were inspired by Jane’s work with Heart & Soul Foundation, an initiative which had won her Coffs Harbour Woman Of The Year 2017. We were each brimming with ideas from events our diverse team has attended all over the world and wanted to highlight what the Coffs Coast has to offer – culturally, fashion-wise and more – with an extra bit of elegance and imagination. 

We know that a lot of locals tend to feel that they need to go to the capital city to get a taste of off-beat inspiration. But, we wanted to give them an opportunity for that amazing night out – without leaving town. Even better, it all supports an important local cause and showcases the many types of talents we have right here on our doorstep. With our love of community and the creative arts and with a diverse range of skills, networks, and experience, we think the Botanica team are a force to be reckoned with!

Who are some of the acts and artists we can look forward to seeing?


Roving performers from the Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium.

Hannah Harlen is a Coffs acoustic singer-songwriter who has been featured by triple j Unearthed. She’s a one-woman show, with incredible guitar skills and a unique voice. Prepare to get lost in the music with this gorgeous local act.

Tanuki – home-grown and original music duo, with one of Bellingen’s most talented imports and rising jazz singers Georgie Chorley, whose incredible soulful voice you will have heard featured on the Screenwave International Film Festival trailer; the lyrical power will raise the hair on the back of your neck. 

Funkatu will finish the night with an all-out dance party! Louey Howell and Funkatu are a local Bellingen Trio who pour funk basslines, howling guitar solos, soulful rhythmic didgeridoo and irresistibly danceable drums. Expect a crazy fun night to dance your booty off!

We’ve also got local broadcaster and self-confessed vintage disco, nu-soul, dance-punk and hip-hop nerd Eve Jaremka providing the beats for the fashion show and warming up between dancefloor sessions. 


The Botanic Gardens will be transformed into a creative wonderland. Amongst the native trees you will discover atmospheric art installations from some of the most well-known artists in the region, including: John Thiering and a surprise guest with a projected sand painting, Gumbaynggirr artists Brentyn Lungan and Alison Williams, Julie Nash and winner of our “budding artists comp”, Lana G Creative – to name a few. 

Dance performances from fire wizards Kozmic Fuzion and the Julie Ross Dance Studio.

Designer and illustrator Victoria McGrane of The Scenic Route – a former Emerald Beach local – is responsible for the beautiful Botanica branding. Victoria is a former fashion designer whose clothes featured on international catwalks. Her illustration work features her modern, hand-drawn take on native flowers and local Coffs Coast wildlife, and you will find more of this inspiration throughout Botanica. 


Food and local produce will be front and centre to start off the evening, with a cooking show from Gourmet-Traveller award-winning chef Mitch Grady and decorated Melbourne chef Andrew Gale. Sapphire Beach chemical-free farmers New Life Farm will be bringing seasonal ingredients.

Tell us about the FOCUS Birdcage – ‘’The VIP experience’’.

The Birdcage is set up in full view of the stage, with some seated and standing areas for mingling and connecting with others in the marquee. The experience includes being catered for (grazing bowl style) by The Hilltop Store, your own private bar, amenities and front row seats to all the stage action – positioned right in front of the catwalk.

Tell us about the committee and their different roles.

Jane Tavener, founder of Heart & Soul Foundation and Event Director;

Lisa Daniel (The Design Cupboard) – Creative Director;

Sarah Poole (One Fine Day) – Operations Manager;

Lindsay Russell (Peachy Thinking) – Marketing Manager.

Who are some of the sponsors of the event?

FOCUS – major media partner and Birdcage sponsor;

Surf Club Bar and Restaurant;

Nikki and Todd Blewitt;

The Design Cupboard;

Susan Green Legal Practice. 

This event would not be possible without all of the in-kind contributions made by local businesses and the many volunteers.

Is there a cost involved?

General admission tickets $35. 

FOCUS Birdcage – The VIP Experience, Tickets $150.

Immerse yourself in the Elements Ceremony for an additional $25.

Picnic cheese boxes available on pre-order at checkout from The Cheesemaking Workshop.

Where can we find out more?

The Plug: Botanica, An Evening in the Gardens will be held at the Botanical Gardens on Saturday 9th November, from 5 pm until 10 pm. Tickets available from

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