Superheroes to swoop on Lake Mac for Pop Bam

Published on 11 July 2023

Cosplay characters, including Batman and Ghostbusters, preparing for Lake Mac's Pop Bam festival.jpg

Why did Batman cross the road?

Possibly because he was being chased by four Ghostbusters, Princess Leia and an old bloke wielding a harp.

Or maybe because he was on his way to Pop Bam – Lake Mac’s first ever pop-culture festival, to be held Saturday 29 July at Warners Bay Theatre, baramayiba.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism Jacqui Hemsley said the festival would cater to fans of franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter and Doctor Who, as well as those who loved Lego and role-playing games.

“This will be an inclusive event aimed at teens and above, celebrating the fun and magic that pop culture delivers,” she said.

Swordcraft Newcastle will host demonstrations throughout the 10am-4pm event, while Oz Comic-Con FX award-winner Simon Wait will showcase his range of cosplay characters.

The festival will also feature a Sons of Obiwan lightsaber skills show, a cosplay panel covering everything from costume design to makeup, a Pop Bam pop culture trivia contest and local businesses who specialise in pop culture.

A 3pm cosplay competition will offer prizes for the best-dressed contestants, with registrations taken on the day from 1-3pm.

The Dark Knight will be on hand alongside Star Wars favourites from the 501st Legion and a host of other cosplay characters from movies, comic books and pop culture.

Brenton Portus (third from right) and David Hambly (white cloak) enjoy dressing up for gigs like Pop Bam.jpg

So too will David Hambly, the man who played Zeus’s harpist in the Marvel blockbuster Thor: Love & Thunder.

The Lake Mac local started dressing up about five years ago “for a bit of extra work”, then landed the dream Hollywood gig.

“I base characters on both the event and what suits my appearance,” he said.

“For example, if it’s a medieval festival then I would dress accordingly, but for pop culture events I dress as Zeus’s harpist because that’s the character I played in the film. It seems logical to play myself as I am that character.”

Brenton Portus, who has been involved in the cosplay scene for almost 15 years, said his love of pop culture prompted him to throw on costumes ranging from Ghostbusters to Marvel superheroes and Star Wars clone troopers.

“Sometimes I think people forget how much fun it is to be a kid, and enjoying the heck out of things just because you can,” he said.

“Most parents will bring their kids to the event, thinking it’s just for them, but the parents end up getting a kick out of it also.”

Tickets to Pop Bam are $10 for adults, $7 for children aged 5-17 and free for kids under five.

Go to for more information and bookings.

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