St Kilda Festival
While the weather Gods watched and blessed from above, the nine day St Kilda festival maintained its glamour and glitter till the last day on 8th February 2015. It is Melbourne’s biggest free musical festival showcasing Australian talent. It is grand, great and I must say, I find it difficult to describe with words because it all happens amongst the spectacular beauty of Melbourne’s St Kilda beach. While summer is at its best, a sunny 25 degrees was like a wish granted from heaven.
With kite boarders in its background, many were taking a break from the festivities for a quick tan in the beach. The usual beach goers at this time, with their dogs on leash, joggers, and kids with attitude unparalleled, made a good mix for the crowd. I was wondering how I missed this, all these years. If you are in Melbourne, you should be here at this time of the year. This is Melbourne at its best. All smiling faces and that was a wonderful sight. There were activities for people of all ages from one year old kids to those in their 90’s.
The festival usually attracts around 400000 attendees for the 9 days and this year it exceeded the estimation. The activities here included story telling for kids, Music and dance, rides and rides of extreme adventurism, net ball, card reading, chariot pulling, meditation and almost everything that we can think of. Food stalls that represented culinary culture of almost all major varieties were another attraction for the taste buds.
Indian culture and tradition were represented by Hare Krishna. There were spiritual classes, Indian classical dances depicting Lord Krishna’s life and above all Indian food and free watermelon distribution. Outside on the road, a chariot was pulled through by the Hare Krishna devotees. There were music programs going on at the main stage with a large crowd surrounded.
The program advertised for this Sunday: big international acts and family orientated activities – including the annual Children’s Fishing Workshop, face painting and the Hare Krishna Parade. The Main Stage will have sets from Thundamentals, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks; Russell Morris; Hot Dub Time Machine, the Basics, San Cisco and the Church.The Garden Stage will host Remi, DMA’s, Chelsea Wilson, Japanese Wallpaper, Jimblah, Banoffee and the Delta Riggs. Over on the Alfred Square Stage there’s Benny Walker, the Pierce Brothers, Jen Cloher, and the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra.
The History of St Kilda Festival
This annual event produced and presented by the city of Port Phillip has undergone many format changes since its inception in the 1980’s but at its heart it is a free community celebration. The festival budget has grown considerably over the years and depends on sponsorship from local businesses and big corporates. Private sponsorship has become an issue in 1998, when the then sponsor Fox FM banned Kiss FM broadcasting from the festival. Since then City of Port Phillip has increased its share to around 1/3rd of the total expense.
In its current form St Kilda festival is 9 days long and is made up of three key components. Yalukit Willam Ngargee: People place gathering, Live N Local and Festival Sunday. People place Gathering kicks of the festival – an outdoor indigenous celebration of music, dance theatre and more. . Yalukit Willam Ngargee started independently in 2006 and joined hands with the festival, creating an outdoor music welcome to St Kilda.
Live N Local follows with St Kilda doing what it already does best year around. Local bands are programmed into as many venues as possible. It is been running since 2004.
Festival Sunday brings the climatic end to the festival .Roads are closed to cars and opened to pedestrians right throughout St Kilda. The parks in the area hosts music stages, the beach become hive of activity and Catani Gardens become a funfair. St Kilda Festival is a music festival above all which the bands can reach new audiences.
So if you have never been there for the St Kilda Festival, make it a point to visit next time. The good news is there is always a next time.