Williamstown Festival 2008

Posted on May 11, 2008 by Ruth Allen

In October 2007 I was appointed Director of the 2008 Williamstown Art & Culture Festival.

This 6 month contract included the raising of $85,000 sponsorship (within a 3 month period) and the coordination of a 2 day, 2 evening event for an estimated 15,000 people.

Holding the only employed position I sourced and coordinated up to 16 volunteers to facilitate the desired brief from the advisory board, council, key stakeholders and the community.

The event included; A 2 day music program of local and Melbourne based musicians. Multi-Cultural Community Carnival celebrating identity, culture and talents of local community groups. A Circus Tent with programmed acts requiring varied audio & visual support and specialized OH&S attention. Stallholders presenting Art & Crafts and exotic foods from around the world. A Sustainable Solutions Showcase displaying latest technologies for the residential home or business and an educational inter-active forum led by influential speakers in the field. Community activities including Yoga for kids, Tai Chi and an elaborate Community Parade.

My responsibilities included the management of performers, community groups, stallholders, venues, contractors, police, security, road closures and addressing local trader’s interests. I coordinated local venues with proposed community projects and programmed these community initiatives within the festival guide.

Working with a team of volunteers I produced an A5, 32 page glossy festival guide compiled for a publication of 5000 prior to the event which was distributed throughout Melbourne.

Media Release; The 31st Williamstown Festival held on the 13th – 15th April 2008 has been deemed the most successful festival in 5 years, celebrating the quintessential festival life by supporting community, nurturing cultural diversity & experiencing art.

The Festival held back the predicted rain on Friday night with the outdoor cinema screening of Ratatouille generously put on by the SUN Theatre, parents and children flocked to enjoy the warm entertaining family affair.

Thousands passed through Commonwealth Reserve on the weekend to join in the festivities. Saturday brought joyful scenes as children and families enjoyed the circus stars who were invited to share their talents within the vibrant circus tent which was hand made and exquisite in detail. Performers woooooed the crowd with death defying acts including sword swallowing, hoola-hooping, flying acrobatics and hand stands sending shivers up & down your spine.

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Kareem the life size elephant dazzled spectators as they wondered ‘is she real? Does she really weigh 7 tonne?’ the crowd moved closer and gasped with delight when sprayed with water from her trunk.

The Mobil Main-stage was a constant source of entertainment with well known local acts such as Nicky Bomba, the Mannish Boys, Andy Kirkland, & Kobya. The final rich performance of the evening was Deborah Conway and Willy Zeiger and definitely a crowd favorite.

Saturday night was complete with the Port of Melbourne Fireworks Display dazzling the crowd for yet another year, back dropped by our stunning bay and the cityscape.

Sunday hummed like a hive; art and craft stalls were back-to-back creating a thriving atmosphere of delights to look, touch, play and even eat. The Multi-Cultural carnival held an impressive line-up of community groups performing song and dance as well as workshops, this diversity was also reflected in tantalizing tastes from Jamaica, Turkey, Ethiopia & beyond.

Nelson Place stopped traffic and parted the crowd with the grand Parade. Local schools showed off their hard work from a month of workshops with circus performers creating costumes, a musical soundscape and circus tricks of the trade.

Many of Williamstown local traders had put on a special treat for the influx of visitors over the weekend bands played in cafes & bars. Blunt’s Boatshed hosted a celebratory 150 years boat show including a 42ft WAKA ( Maori war canoe) & art proliferated establishments from the Art in Public Places program facilitated by Hobsons Bay City Council.

A great weekend was had by all and concluded with the infamous cannon firing on Sunday afternoon sending a sound blast throughout ones skin & bones, a little something to remember.

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