Festival Fever
Written by
maggie brooke
July 2016
Written by
maggie brooke
July 2016

From the pen of Miss Brooke. My fellow writers, greetings. What’s up? My weight, my cholesterol, my blood alcohol and my love of art and culture. These things always rise this time of year because it is Festival Season! What’s down? My income because I must forego my paid employment in order to wallow in the sheer pleasure of culture, music, painting, drama and literature.

We start off with the opening of two art exhibits at ArtSpace – ‘Animal Fanfare’ by various artists and ‘You Can Dress Them Up but You Can’t Take Them Out’ by Rona Green. All those paintings of fantastical animals sparked plenty of conversation among the patrons as we devoured delicious eats and drinks.

Then comes NAIDOC, National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Commemoration – which, for those of you who don’t know, lasts a week and begins with a flag raising/Welcome to Country celebration on the Council Lawn. After the very moving flag raising, I caught up with friends, aunties and uncles and ate a most delicious traditional lunch which included damper that was WOW! And then, of course, the party in the park on Naidoc Day – more music & food, of course.

The Arts Festival was launched with a concert in the Botanical Gardens by, among others, the local choral society. I treated myself to a gourmet picnic hamper to go with my bottle of cheap plonk and settled in with friends to enjoy an evening of wonderful music in the great outdoors. Have I mentioned that it was the coldest night of the year?

The following day (blissfully sunny) was the Wine and Food Festival in Queen’s Park. After spending too much money at the artefact and food stalls, I passed a few hours listening to many and varied bands while finishing my gourmet hamper with more cheap plonk.

The Triple Threat Academy, the local youth drama group, presented the delightful musical, ‘Into the Woods’. It was amazing. The singing and acting talent the kids displayed is a real tribute to the director. I am so looking forward to more of their performances.

If you are thinking that was enough, you’d be wrong. There was still the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literary Festival. A fellow writer and I attended the launch. So much food but this time I drank champagne as I rubbed shoulders and conversed with authors and illustrators. The esteemed John Marsden missed the launch because of bad weather in Melbourne (rumours of Snow!) but he was there the following day and I went to hear him lecture to the kids. Any adult who thinks s/he can’t learn from a primary school lecture is wrong.

A break with more glorious food (pork sliders!) and then a lecture for teachers and parents by poet/comedian Harry Laing which was more than worth the price of admission.

Festivals are entertainment for the masses and opportunities for the artists. Opportunities to learn from successful practitioners at, usually, minimal cost; opportunities to down tools and just plain enjoy yourselves. Take advantage! Til next time, keep on writing, Miss Brooke.

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