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Surf n Ink Tattoo Festival: A Tattoo Wonderland

Surf n Ink Tattoo Festival
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Celebrating the art of the tattoo, the Surf n’ Ink Tattoo Festival will feature the world’s best tattoo artists and an eclectic variety of quirky, quality entertainment.


Everything from onsite tattooing and contests to all things artistic will create the festival atmosphere, which includes bands, DJs, martial arts demonstrations, stalls, circus acts, live art and airbrushing.

Festival director and tattoo artist, Marco Ventura, says the concept for the event came from his travels to Europe and America: “This is the tattoo festival Australia needs. I saw it happening overseas and when I came to Australia, I saw there weren’t many conventions around. I thought it was a great idea for artists to get together and get recognised.”

Though the festival’s name comes from Marco’s Surf n’ Ink tattoo parlour on the Gold Coast, Marco says tattoos — not surf — are the focus. “There isn’t anything surfing-related at the festival, but because the festival has been really successful on the Gold Coast, with 10,000 attendees every year since 2010, we didn’t want to change the name. It’s got a good reputation and we want to keep it that way.”

Marco says the festival is a great opportunity for those who are curious about tattoos, who want to get tattoos, or people who just want to be informed. “A lot of people want to get tattoos but most of them are afraid of tattoo shops. It’s a great way to see people getting tattooed, artists doing what they do best, seeing different portfolios and educating yourself about techniques and styles. Plus all the entertainment and performers; it’s just a great weekend, there is so much going on.”

Surf N Ink 2
The main attractions of the festival are seemingly the Freak Of The Show and Miss Surf n’ Ink contests. “Miss Surf n’ Ink attracts lots of people,” Marco laughs. “There are lots of beautiful girls with beautiful tattoos. The Freak Of The Show is the people’s choice on whoever comes with the most crazy stuff that they’ve had done. In the past we’ve had one guy that tattooed his eyeballs.”

Despite this, Marco says the festival is family orientated. “Unfortunately, in Australia, tatt shows have been related to drinking. Our tatt festival offers a lot of family entertainment — we’ve had had heaps of families through the doors and we want to keep it that way. We have all the approvals from the council and health department, it’s not a bunch of friends drinking in a bar or doing backyard tatts on a Saturday afternoon. The bar is totally separate from the main hall and there won’t be people drinking in there. It’s a safe environment. We want to show people tattoos can be fun and family friendly too.”

The Surf n’ Ink Tattoo Festival comes to the Royal International Convention Centre at RNA Showgrounds from September 27-29. For more info, head to tattoofestival.com.au.

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