11 November 2006

Belconnen Community Festival 2006

| johnboy
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Apparently Belconnen has been sitting off the west of Canberra for a whole 40 years now. Therefore the Belconnen Community Festival was a particularly grand occasion this year in Margaret Timson Park (the curious patch of grass and palm trees between the Belconnen Mall and Emu Bank).

Around one o’clock when we stopped in to have a look the joint was definitely jumping with the pedestrian traffic to and from the Mall making Benjamin Way all but impassible to cars thanks to the zebra crossings.

Aside from the above belly dancers who bopped away to contemporary pop music (is there any known way to *stop* them turning up to community festivals?) I’ve whipped together a little slide show complete with the raucus cacophony of the competing musical attractions.

The Park was chockas with stalls which promised to be interesting until I realised that two thirds of them were for earnestly dull community organisations that I have no interest at all in. But they nevertheless wanted me to take care as much as they did. Frankly they annoy me and make me want to go somewhere, anywhere, else. As did the Mix 106 woman aggressively trying to make people take branded junk from her despite a resolute desire by many in the public to now own the stuff she was forcing into their lives.

Buried amongst the stultifyingly boring “community” types there was a very sparse selection of food and drink vendors. It was definitely sub-Gorman House for both food and the goods being hawked more in hope than expectation. There was a Christian group cleverly giving away free water in exchange for a chance at the thirsty punter’s immortal soul.

There was, however, a greying tattooed bloke with a handle bar mo and a black “Bring Back The Biff” wife-beater. That almost made up for the dreary stalls.

The entertainment was a mixed bag, the excellent Fuellers were playing on the big stage while we were there. Sadly with no shaded seating, no food and no beer I wasn’t enticed to sit under the baking sun to listen.

Meanwhile there were a variety of dancers doing their varied things with varied quality in the central square. Girls with red and orange faux-dreadlocks were doing something interpretative which no doubt pleased the community sector folk but sent me scurrying for something, anything, else to look at.

Unannounced some trampoliners were showing off their stuff which was much more entertaining and gave my camera’s sports mode a proper workout.

Lacking any sort of program for the day’s entertainment, and not seeing one in the half hour I was there (please spare me directions to some tumbleweed-haunted website), it was all a bit haphazard. Certainly boulders for the strongest man competition out on the Benjamin Way media strip looked interesting, but not something I was going to hang around for.

These events are great for struggling entertainers as they’re one of the very few paying gigs in this town. I do, however, wonder if the real community is getting much value out of their public subsidy. A more focussed event with some thought given to providing people with things they might actually want to buy and how to make them want to do that, would have been more pleasant for this punter as well as maybe making a dollar for someone.

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Having worked in large festivals as a stage manager before, I agree that this one could do with some fixing. But on the whole it wasn’t as bad as sitting at home doing nothing really. A program would be a good start, more variety in the events and designated areas (like a specific kids stage?) and something to tie it all together would help. Maybe next year we can all get together and have a special RIOT ACT event??

Well said.

I asked a bloke with a microphone whether Barrel of Monkeys were playing. He looked through his papers and said no. I later found out they had been playing on a different stage. It’s like they give anyone a microphone nowadays. What was the bloke looking at if it wasn’t a programme?

Was it just me, or was the awareness campaign for child prostitution on the main stage (late morning) a tad ironic given it was just a bunch of young girls dancing half-naked on stage??

And what was the deal with mentioning the Stanhope Government every five mins? Are they suggesting the event was government planned?? I didn’t know the ACT gov’t had started to regulate belly dancers and crap beer.

well the feedback is much appreciated.

Fuck it to buggery johnboy,you are is wasted english skill of typinge is two good not two what the fuck are you on about? Grammar is a wonderfull thing.You can write about crap but at least stay for the boring event to crap on about.I am not a local nor anywhere near the ACT.

If they want sweetness and light I’m not stopping them reading cut and pasted media releases on CityNews or the CT.

jb, you’ve really pissed of the locals this week!

Oh dear, it seems the stigma of reading will be with me always.

I don’t have a problem with bely dancing but the novelty is long since gone for mine, apologies for having an opinion.

I’m so sorry to have hurt your feelings MickeyD. I’m so sorry I forced you to read it.

Bloody hell johnboy,you hit the nail on the head with that one.I mean after all if a community event couldn’t entertain you in the oh so long time of a whole half freakin hour then they deserve the so logical bashing that you did give.I myself might not have a threshold for entertainment but jesus mate,a whole half hour to put such a full depth review? of an event that went for at least a few hours.Top class all the way mate.You should have stayed for the strongman contest ’cause you (me really) might have been lucky enough for one of the men to have dropped a heavy cement ball on you oh so fat head.Next time at least stay for some of the freaking event(half a freaking hour doesn’t count).Mind you while i was reading your long bloated review? i kept thinking “i need to be doing something,anything but reading load of trollop.I’m now going to lick my cats kitty litter tray to get the taste of your well written and constructed review?

Absent Diane12:28 pm 12 Nov 06

i have to say I thought the festival was not that interesting either. though i think you must have missed the beer stand… because there were heaps of people walking around with stubbies and plastic cups of beer. what i find interesting, is that if this had of been held in other major city in australia it would have been a massive pissup. but for that to happen i guess they would be looking at massive costs for security and insurance.

i must say though i thouroughly enjoyed playing on the little youth stage – although we are hardly struggling :)… it was a good opportunity for our regulars to not have to come and pay to see us … and to play to those who wouldn’t otherwise come.

Oh my, how stinging……….

equalitarian12:59 am 12 Nov 06

Hey Johnboy, is your daughter a belly dancer? Maybe you’d prefer she was home reading. No to both? Thought so.
Why does negativity feature so large in your critiques. A prob with a Belco extravaganza? Go to Wooden. Everyone tries, and cops shit from the armchair. Constructive is the go, after all, what did you miss while committed to this gig?
Yeah, I know, the keyboard

i know that bloke with the tatt wearing the bring back the biff shirt. his a champion bloke

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