By Campbell Seith
The entertainment industry on the Sunshine Coast has seen a major overhaul in recent years. With a plethora of new bars, restaurants and venues to explore it can be hard to know where to go or what to try next. When Pineapple Xpress founder and creative Mitch Brookes first moved to the Sunshine Coast he saw an opportunity to tap into this emerging market. His goal: to have the Coast covered with all of their entertainment, culture and lifestyle needs.
Their main focus now is gearing up for this year’s Big Pineapple Festival. Tickets have already sold out for in record time. With over 15,000 festival-goers expected for the day the team at Pineapple Xpress are ready for one of the Coast’s biggest events. This year their Xpress Yo’Self stage is looking better than ever, with twice the size and production ensuring more room for punters to dance to some of the best DJs Australia has to offer, including Cub Sport, Crooked Colours and Northeast Party House.
When he isn’t racing around the Coast or coordinating his team, Brookes can usually be found in one of his regular haunts: Glass Coffee House in Maroochydore. The Sydney-born, Sunshine Coast-raised media entrepreneur has been working hard to create a platform that helps support the local entertainment industry. With over 18,000 followers on Facebook, and a few thousand on Instagram, Pineapple Xpress’s strong online presence has helped them to become ingrained in the Coast’s entertainment and lifestyle scene.
“Pineapple Xpress Creative has rapidly become a leading news source for south-east Queensland’s entertainment and lifestyle industry,” Mr Brookes said. “Our website reports on trending topics, music tours, festival and concert announcements, popular food and drink hot spots and lifestyle events.”
He acknowledges that, like most industries, it’s all about who you know. While building their online profile, they were able to meet many of the ‘movers and shakers’ in the local area including the co-director of the Big Pineapple Festival, Mark Pico.
“At the time I remember we were holding a smaller style festival and in my eyes they were competition and I was thinking, you know, who are these guys? What’s going on? We ended up getting introduced to them,” he said. “So when I started Pineapple Xpress he asked me to come on board with The Big Pineapple Music Festival and to run our own stage and to do the marketing and help out with promotion and tickets sales.”
While driven by a love for music, entertainment and the Sunshine Coast, he said there’s a simpler reason behind why he does it. “I kind of got addicted to making people happy whilst putting on new events,” he said. “Sydney had so much to offer; boat parties, warehouse parties, club nights, festivals… when I came to the Sunshine Coast I definitely saw a gap that needed to be filled.”
He recalls first arriving on the Coast seven years ago and having very limited options in regard to the nightlife scene and venues. “I definitely saw an opportunity to expand and create a business for not only events but a place where people can see what’s new and happening around the Sunshine Coast online,” he said. “Once we built a small and loyal following we decided to expand our interests further south to Brisbane, Gold Coast and Byron Bay.”
Their recent success has not been without challenges. Mr Brookes and his team have been promoting entertainment on the Coast for almost seven years now. He describes coming from Sydney – an entertainment hotspot – to the Coast, a virtual ghost town with limited events and night life.
“I took what I knew from the big smoke and did my best to place it here on the Sunshine Coast. Introducing touring DJs to what is now known as the Helm, hosting events with mainstream acts such as Whatsonot, Alison Wonderland, Bauuer, Flosstradamos, Miami Horror, and Touch Sensitive,” he said.
This year’s festival boasts some of Australia’s leading musicians, with performances from Violent Soho, Illy, All Day and the Dune Rats to name a few, there’s sure to be something to satisfy everyone’s ever refined musical taste. Head over to the Big Pineapple Festival’s website for the full line-up and more.
You’ll find Mitch and the Pineapple Xpress crew at their Xpress Yo’self stage May 26th. In the meantime be sure to keep an eye on the PineappleXpress Facebook page as they tease a “massive” announcement regarding the Big Pineapple Festival in the coming weeks.