Has the Multicultural Festival grown too big for Civic?

johnboy 14 February 2011 22
multicultural festival

The Multicutural Festival held over the weekend can only be described as a raging success with some estimates that there were over 100,000 people in Civic on Saturday.

But has it grown too big?

The crowds were packed in pretty tight, if something had caused a panic (and with all that fire, booze, and people this is no idle speculation) the stampede could have been grisly indeed.

Should it move to EPIC? Do more roads need to be closed to allow it to spread out more?

The Multicultural Festival

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22 Responses to Has the Multicultural Festival grown too big for Civic?
Ceej1973 Ceej1973 6:48 am 15 Feb 11

EPIC? Just something else that convienients the Gungahlinites and no-one else!

deye deye 12:08 am 15 Feb 11

Remember that a year or two ago it was spread to Glebe park, but not much was there and it was difficult to know that there was anything going on over there from the main part.

I think consideration needs to be given to the layout and crowd flow. It seems as though the layout is done to purposely create choke points.

Spectra Spectra 10:03 pm 14 Feb 11

I dunno about EPIC, but they really need to do something. I used to enjoy going, but I’ve steered clear the last couple of years because it’s just become too crowded. When simply moving around is a massive pain, it really detracts from the fun of it. Spread it out more, move it to a different venue, but do something.

grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 9:56 pm 14 Feb 11

go back to the days of the alcoholic frolic in commonwealth park. its obviously a popular event, but you cant even enjoy it being cramped and crowded in civic.

EPIC blows. dont put it there.

rescuedg rescuedg 3:58 pm 14 Feb 11

Has it grown too big? Is it just me or has the multicultural festival consistently shrunk over the past few years?

By shrunk I dont mean that they are cramming the same amount of stalls into fewer spaces but that there is less on show.The first year I went (I think 2007) it extended into Glebe Park and has done a couple of times since and was still as packed in the centre of Civic.

I love the crowded atmosphere, the only suggestion might be to put the tents with the consistently big lines (Dutch pancakes, anyone selling Gozleme and the German beers) in more convenient locations for crowd flow.

@Krasny I agree that it doesnt make sense to deny local traffic when you could just move those three tents that were there to further up outside oporto’s.

Bad Seed Bad Seed 3:05 pm 14 Feb 11

The kids and parents had a great time on Saturday afternoon, eating around the world. What I want to know is though – did the restaurant / pub, whos name escapes me, near the merry go round, used to be Woodstock, has lots of outdoos seating…anyway, they had barricades up that almost shut off the walkway between their outdoor seating and their restaurant. Now I presume they pay rent for the outdoor seating but I am guessing the walkway is public area yet their barricades had closed it off so tightly so it was only barely enough room for people to squeeze by one at a time -created a real bottle neck…looked borderline illegal to me…

bryansworld bryansworld 2:11 pm 14 Feb 11

Commonwealth Park. Back to the Food & Wine Frolic of Olden Dayes…

KB1971 KB1971 1:38 pm 14 Feb 11

The family & I went on Saturday night. Man it was busy, the kids loved it. One of my daughters was besotted by the pipe flute players near the Canberra Centre (the guys that are always at the Bus Depot).

I think the fact it was so busy & a bit disorderly is what made it the great event it is. We watched the bar tenders at the Russian food tent poison many a punter with shots of god knows what with cheering & banter.

Food on a stick was the order of the day, loved it. There was a spot you could get away from it all & that was at the fountain outside the theater, we had Gelati there on our way out. The souvlaki was great as well as the squid balls from Singapore (must be big squid……).

We will go again next year as best of all it was FREE!!!!!!.

I agree with Lin, there should be more of it.

justsomeaussie justsomeaussie 1:14 pm 14 Feb 11

Did anyone else not understand the layout?

Wouldn’t it be easier to group the stands by region rather than just what appeared to be random? It would be much easier that way for people to navigate to particular area if they’d like to try that food, rather than try to read small red dot on a map while squashed in with 100,000 other people

chewy14 chewy14 12:01 pm 14 Feb 11

Skidbladnir said :

If only we could ensure the weather would be perfect every year, I would suggest taking over more City space.
ie: not only Garema Place\City Walk, but Bunda St\Glebe Park.

(ie: If we had a rainy weekend, would it have been profitable?)

That’s what I was thinking too. If the rain on Friday night had of continued on Saturday the whole event would have been a flop.
But I do think they need more space because it was far too packed on Saturday, you could barely move in some areas.

Mysteryman Mysteryman 11:42 am 14 Feb 11

Just expand into more of civic.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 11:39 am 14 Feb 11

If only we could ensure the weather would be perfect every year, I would suggest taking over more City space.
ie: not only Garema Place\City Walk, but Bunda St\Glebe Park.

(ie: If we had a rainy weekend, would it have been profitable?)

Keijidosha Keijidosha 11:34 am 14 Feb 11

I’m not sure the gummint would approve of 100,000 punters trampling the grass at Glebe Park, but surely the festival could expand to the carpark opposite Mooseheads?

Lin Lin 11:33 am 14 Feb 11

PS: in Ghent they shut down the whole city centre – a lot bigger than the Canberra’s 2 streets – for 10 whole days.

KaptnKaos KaptnKaos 11:31 am 14 Feb 11

Move it to Commonwealth Park.

Epic – too difficult for people to go there.

Civic – too crowded.

Lin Lin 11:29 am 14 Feb 11

More spin off events and spread it out over a longer period. Like it used to be!

I lived in Ghent, Belgium (smaller population than Canberra) which has one of the best annual street festivals in the world. Which is another reason why I don’t go to the MF here. I find it rather pathetic and boring. And the fact that 100,000 people flock to it just highlights how much Canberra needs more and better events! We’re like bloddy country people, jumping on anything slightly out of the ordinary because we’re so starved of entertainment.

Anywho, just my humble opinion.

dtc dtc 11:28 am 14 Feb 11

I agree that its getting a bit too packed and there are no ‘quiet’ zones where you can just get away and find somewhere to sit – even the stage areas are packed. Its fine for big brawny tall men but the little ones are a bit squashed.

But I think it should stay in Civic. Glebe Park could be a great location, although I dont know about the practicality (electricity etc). Or just close off more of London Cct and put most of the stalls along there.

Although I was pondering why going to markets in Asia or Sth America etc that are just as packed and have lots of food stalls is an enjoyable and energetic experience, and doing the same in Canberra is a PITA

krasny krasny 11:22 am 14 Feb 11

I don’t mind that it’s in Civic (although it’s weird living in a city that can effectively shut down its CBD for a festival), but I wish they hadn’t put marquees on London Circuit. It makes life completely impossible for Civic residents (yes, they do exist and they couldn’t get their cars out for three days, never mind people pissing and puking on their front door step or wandering into areas they should never have had access to, thanks to a real estate agent who thought Saturday would be a great day for an open house and left the front door latched open :/ ).

In previous years they’ve kept a passage clear and issued local traffic permits, but this year? No way in or out. I know at least one tenant on City Walk couldn’t get home from work and I assume had to pay for parking somewhere over the weekend.

Vegemite Vegemite 11:20 am 14 Feb 11

When we were leaving the people I was with all commented that Glebe Park would be a great venue for it, plenty of open space and paths and lots of areas to sit down and enjoy the delights on offer. THe problem with the layout in Civic is that it is just too crowded to even see what some stores were offering and once you have got your multicultural delight, there is no where to sit and eat it. The really long lines at certain stores also added to the congestion. Glebe Park would provide much more space.

Oh and ban smoking!!! In such a confined space with so many people (children included), people should not be smoking!

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 11:13 am 14 Feb 11

Agree there are heaps of people, but I think being in Civic is crucial. Nothing wrong with having the city feel alive, haha. Spread the festival over more of Civic if need be.

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