Savannah Sounds On Great Barrier Reef

Minister for Tourism and Sport The Honourable Michael Healy
  • A once-in-a-lifetime music event, dubbed ‘Savannah Sounds on the Reef’, will be staged on a floating pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef for community heroes.
  • The event aims to drive visitors to Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef and this year’s ‘Savannah in the Round’ – a popular Tropical North Queensland country music event.
  • The initiative is supported by the Australian and Queensland Governments to help the Far North region recover following ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and subsequent flooding in late 2023.

High-profile Australian artists will perform in front of 100 community heroes in a spectacular music performance being held on Reef Magic’s floating pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns on Saturday, 27 April 2024.

The Australian and Queensland Governments are supporting ‘Savannah Sounds on the Reef’ through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements following ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper as part of the $29.15 million Tourism Recovery and Resilience Program.

The Tourism Recovery Package has enabled all levels of government to work with industry to help attract more visitors to Queensland’s Tropical North, also supporting other Cairns and Port Douglas events across 2024.

The artists scheduled to play include Sheppard and Lee Kernaghan, together with CMAA Golden Guitar Awards’ New Talent of the Year Max Jackson and acclaimed indigenous artists Kairos Kin.

The event will this week launch the search for community heroes from across Australia to attend the once-in-a-lifetime floating performance, including those from the Cairns region who have demonstrated significant positive contribution to their local community.

Community heroes may have volunteered to help in cyclone and flood clean up, may be long-standing, selfless community members who keep the local environment pristine or people who care for others.

Nominations open today, Friday April 5, closing April 19. Details are available at

While the limited number of spots are available to win through competitions for the one-off reef performance, fans can see a stellar lineup of artists – including newly-announced festival headliner and prominent US country music singer and songwriter Kip Moore – at Savannah in the Round in October, with tickets available now at

Quotes attributable to Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Nita Green:

“The Albanese Government is thrilled to be working with our Queensland counterparts on new initiatives which support Far North Queensland’s recovery from ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper and to be able to provide community members, first responders, and volunteers, the opportunity to have a once-in-a-life time experience.

“The tourism industry is so significant for Cairns and the surrounding region, and this world-class event in the middle of Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef demonstrates that it’s more than ready to receive visitors again.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Tourism and Member for Cairns, Michael Healy:

“This fantastic country music concert on the reef will make international headlines and shine a spotlight on the Great Barrier Reef and the incredible experience on offer here in Cairns and Great Barrier Reef.

“While you hardly need an excuse to book a trip to this spectacular part of the world, Savannah in the Round this October is certainly a huge drawcard.

“With globally renowned country music star Kip Moore confirmed to headline the event, and more artists to come, tickets are in hot demand.

“This is all part of our joint Government’s ongoing support of this region following the devastating weather impacts late last year and I thank the artists for taking part to make this a wonderful promotion of the reef and to inspire visitors here.

“I can’t wait to see the excitement on the faces of our local heroes who truly deserve an extraordinary experience to thank them for everything they do for our community.”

Quotes attributable to Sheppard:

“We’re thrilled to be returning to the Tropical North for Savannah Sounds on the Reef this April.

“Playing on what might just be the world’s most stunning stage, with breathtaking views of one of the seven wonders of the world – it’ll be the experience of a lifetime.”

Quotes attributable to Lee Kernaghan:

“I’m proud to be a part of Savannah Sounds on the Reef to acknowledge all the community heroes across the country who lean in to support their fellow Aussies when volunteering in the times their help is most needed.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate these true national heroes than putting on an awesome gig for them on the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland!”

Quotes attributable to James Dein, Sound Australia – Savannah in the Round and Savannah Sounds on the Reef organiser:

“Savannah Sounds on the Reef will be an incredible start to this festival season.

“What better way to get things going than by giving back to our local community heroes with a rare opportunity such as this.

“I’m sure these artists will put on an incredible show for them!”

Quotes attributable to Chief Executive Officer, Tourism and Events Queensland, Patricia O’Callaghan:

“We are working hard to give visitors such compelling opportunities to return to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, that they simply can’t refuse.

“This latest initiative will beam stunning images of the reef globally, showcasing the region’s incredible experiences.

“This is our invitation to country music fans – or anyone who needs an excuse for a tropical holiday – to book a trip in October for Savannah in the Round to see some of the hottest country talent perform in a spectacular setting.”

Quotes attributable to Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, Mark Olsen:

“I am delighted that some of our community’s heroes will be rewarded with an extraordinary gig on the Great Barrier Reef. Savannah Sounds on the Reef is a great way to show our appreciation and gives a taste of Savannah in the Round taking place in October later this year.

“Savannah in the Round, located on the doorstep of the outback, is quickly becoming one of the must-do events on the Tropical North Queensland calendar. As the largest country music festival in the region, the event is filled with an amazing line up of global artists and offers eventgoers a chance to experience a Tropical North Queensland holiday amongst the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.”

Quotes attributable to CEO, Experience CO, John O’ Sullivan:

“Experience Co. operates an extensive range of touring on the Great Barrier Reef including snorkelling and diving tours and Island day trips from Port Douglas and Cairns.

“In 2022, with support from a Queensland State Government grant, we built the Reef Magic pontoon to provide increased opportunities for guests to the region to explore and understand the incredible reef system.

“In addition to offering marine activities such as snorkelling and diving, there is an onboard science lab which allows our marine biologists to showcase current research and conservation work such as the planting of Reef Stars which are helping us to protect and regenerate the reef.

“Our guests are also able to learn from our Indigenous guides who help them to understand Sea Country from a Traditional Owner’s perspective.”

/Public Release. View in full here.