Melbourne’s western suburbs have, for too long, been the proverbial “crazy aunty” of Melbourne’s landscape. You know a few vague details about them, occassionally forced to visit and put up with their wild stories, interesting decor and strange smells.
But it looks like this crazy aunty is finally being accepted into the Melbourne family, along with all her complexities, curiosities and wild stories. As more people venture across the bridge, they discover a vibrant, multicultural and culturally diverse atmosphere. From Seddon’s busy cafe strip to the Sun Theatre in Yarraville, the pungent Footscray Markets to the sunny Williamstown promenade, the West has so much to explore.
Organisers of the 2011 Big West Festival have embraced this fact. The community festival opens on Tuesday 15 November and continues for two big weeks of performances, music, art and plenty of free entertainment. The Squeaky Wheel spoke to Ros Marsden from Big West about some of the highlights.
“The Big Opening at Footscray Park on Tuesday is where people can bring along their picnic and sit back to hear Australia’s first hip hop choir Massive joined by 200 local singers and King Marong and his band Afro Mandinko as they groove with afrobeat, funk, latin, reggae, dance-hall and jazz. Then one night later on Wednesday, Little Saigon Rooftop will explode with Footscray By Night, a variety evening of dance, song, karoake and film hosted by the inimitable Bruce Vu. On Saturday 19 November the Irving Street Carpark is transformed into a bustling African market with craft, food and women’s fashion and hair stalls. You can experience an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, hear JUBULA! Choir, enjoy dance and storytelling.”
Roll Up will be rolling out the red carpet at People’s Day on Sunday November 27, the closing night of the festival. The focus of the 2011 People’s Day is on intercultural collaboration as the many diverse cultures of the west become join forces in wonderful performances, artworks and the world premiere of festival commissions.
“The West is a fabulous area to cycle around and very accessible with a number of bike paths and some beautiful riding tracks along the Maribyrnong River. Plus many of our events are family-friendly so we want to encourage people to make their Big West Festival attendance an active and healthy day out without the concern of finding parking. With Roll Up helping on People’s Day on Sunday 27 November, cycling to Yarraville Park is a no-brainer. The valet service and red-carpet attention Roll Up will give our cyclists at People’s Day will make their attendance a relaxing and joyful day,” said Ros.
To see the full program and buy tickets visit the website. See you all in the wild west!