The Upwelling Festival – 29th October 2016

Presented by the Rotary Club of Portland Bay Inc., the Upwelling Festival is a free, one-day event in Portland, Victoria which offers a fantastic and vibrant way for the community and visitors to celebrate the unique features of our beautiful coastal town.

The free festival began in 2009 with the inaugural event attracting thousands of locals and visitors.

The festival is held on the town’s foreshore and incorporates the traditional “Blessing of the Fleet” ritual to begin the fishing.

A Street Parade, markets and live entertainment. So if you are looking for a great family festival, make sure you keep the Melbourne Cup Weekend free and head down to the Portland foreshore on Saturday.  The festival is always held on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup.


The 2016 festival is to be held on Saturday the 29th of October.

The Upwelling Festival in Portland offers a fantastic and vibrant way for visitors and Portland locals to celebrate and showcase the unique eco-tourism features of the beautiful coastal town, the Bonney Upwelling.

The Festival includes the Blessing of the Fleet, Street Parade, Festival Market, Live Entertainment, Marine Environment Talks, Whale Boat Races along with a major community art project.

The Festival is run in conjunction with two other well-established and popular local events – the Rotary Art Show (all weekend) and the Portland Three Bays Marathon (Sunday morning). Together these events provide a weekend-long program of activities for locals and visitors.

Aims of the Upwelling Festival - Saturday, 29th October 2016

The Upwelling Festival Portland is a community celebration of the Bonney Upwelling, presented by the Rotary Club of Portland Bay and including a partnership with the Arts Company Portland and other community groups.

The Bonney Upwelling is a unique and epic natural ocean phenomena where the spring winds shift to the south-east, driving a change in ocean currents that powers a seven month feeding frenzy of tuna, crayfish, giant crabs, squid, fish, seabirds, seals, krill and blue whales. An incredibly rich ecological food web, the Upwelling is at its greatest off the coast of Portland and is the cornerstone of the lucrative local fishing and tourism inductry.

The Upwelling festival aims to

  • promote the uniqueness of the Bonney Upwelling through a creative community festival program
  • present a festival with a locally relevant environmental theme
  • encourage a widespread community participation in the festival
  • include community arts projects with an emphasis on excellence and provide opportunities for local artists
  • maintain the festival as a free, one-day event
  • create a sustainable festival which aims to become a pivotal tourism attraction for Portland and the region.