Festival Melbourne2006 will be reaching out across the state with festivals in four major Victorian regional centres - Ballarat, Geelong, Bendigo and Moe, all homes of Melbourne2006 Commonwealth Games live sites. Local artists will work alongside visiting artists to facilitate a unique cultural exchange in each of these centres. And performing artists featured in the Melbourne program will also tour to each of these centres.
The spirit of India will come to Ballarat as part of the regional celebrations for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. Camp Street, the centre of the festivities, will be transformed into a colourful exotic garden by Erth and Ratartat together with local indigenous artists, to the sounds of the powerful Punjabi rhythms of England’s mighty Dhol Foundation, the exquisite sarod playing of Indian maestro Amjad Ali Khan, and the irrepressibly joyous Jaipur Kawa Brass Band all the way from the Pink City of Rajasthan. And don’t miss the exquisite darning of the Rafoogars, from Rajasthan, at Ballarat Regional Gallery.
Festivities in Bendigo kick off in the Civic Gardens with local indigenous dance group Red Ochre. Look for emblems of Scotland around the city, and marvel at the work of Scottish designer Charles Rennie Macintosh at Bendigo Art Gallery.
Listen to a world-class lineup of music, including Singapore’s Wicked Aura Batucada, Northern Ireland’s Michael McGoldrick, New Zealand’s Te Vaka and Australia’s own Kutcha Edwards among others, while watching the soaring bamboo structure of Human Momentum grow in the Library Forecourt.
Some of the best artists in the Commonwealth will descend upon Moe in March 2006 as part of Games-inspired celebrations in Gippsland. There will be something for everyone with rock and roll, country music, and family day performances including antics from Britain’s favourite clown, Fraser Hooper; acrobatics from Kenya’s Afro Jambo Acrobats; contemporary dance from Sri Lanka’s Ravi Bandu Vidyapathy; music from Fiji’s Black Rose; and street theatre from Australia’s own Icarus and Strange Fruit. And don’t miss the Y Space community performance including aerialists, music, shadow puppets and animation. The festival will also include a cultural tribute to Malta, and Limestone featuring Nicky Bomba and Joe Camilleri will perform on closing night.
Steampacket Gardens by the waterfront hosts the celebrations for the Games in Geelong. Roving performances will be a feature with the beautiful Heliosphere from English aerialists The Dream Engine on opening night and Pop Eyed, La Judith, Tutti Frutti, the Chipolatas and the African Showboyz. Look for renowned local groups Back to Back Theatre, and Courthouse Youth Theatre. Attend the launch of the Geogylph, and listen to local percussionists perform with New Zealand’s Strike.
Image: New Zealand’s Strike. Photo courtesy Stephen A'Court.