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.