Feast Spaces and Places
South Australia's fabulous Feast Festival is making more changes this year and for the better, Ron Hughes reports.
Feast is the only queer Festival in Australia and one of the few internationally that builds its own Festival Hub. Creating a Hub in Light Square is Kerry Ireland, Feast’s Creative Producers, vision which became a reality for the first time in 2010.
The Feast Hub gives the queer community our own place in November. The Hub is the heart of Feast, all who visit the Hub feel the power of being in a big, safe queer space in the middle of Adelaide.
For many years Feast didn’t have a Hub. Opening Night Parties have been held at the Lion Arts Centre, Festival Centre Terrace, Elder Park and Adelaide University. Festival events happened in other venues, there was no home or heart of Feast.
For a number of years Feast did have Hubs in spaces owned by other organisations, The Queens Theatre and Higher Ground have been Feast Hubs. In both Feast was restricted by the existing nature of the venues making it impossible to create the spaces and atmosphere that are Feast’s vision for a queer Festival in Adelaide.
Building a Hub in Light Square is an enormous achievement. Thanks to the passion, skill and determination of the Feast team the Hub has evolved over three years to include more attractions, continuing venue design innovation and an expanded Festival program for the three weekends and two weeks of Feast.
The Hub takes a skilled team a week to build - think three entire venues, lighting, sound, toilets, fencing, seating, staging, bars, security, ticketing on site, meeting Council licensing, safety and insurance requirements, plus more. Creating a Hub is expensive, Opening Night Party requires additional resources.
Picnic In The Park, has also moved many times in its history. Picnic venues have included St Peters Park, Bonython Park, Rymill Park, Elder Park, Veale Gardens and Pinky Flat.
Now Picnic is moving again. This year Picnic will be in Light Square at the Feast Hub. For this special day Feast will expand the Hub area by closing and grassing Currie Street, creating a park with plenty of space, shade, trees, atmosphere, a fountain and all the attractions we know and love at Picnic plus a few more.
Picnic requires a great deal of infrastructure and takes two days to erect and one day to dismantle, a huge work load for a small team. Think setting up sound, staging, toilets, electrics, fencing, seating, bars, security, meeting Council and licensing requirements, all of which is very expensive and the Hub with almost all this infrastructure is less than a kilometre from the site of Picnic 2011.
When there was no Feast Hub, Feast needed to set up the infrastructure for Picnic. Now Feast creates it’s own Hub with outdoor infrastructure, this is no longer the case.
Picnic this year is almost identical in size to previous Picnics. Picnic will remain a BYO event; when Picnic winds down the Picnic After Party winds up. Now we can picnic with friends, family and community in the space we have made our place. Picnic goers can stay for the Picnic After Party at no extra cost.
The Feast team and Board made the decision to create Picnic in Light Square on all the above factors plus it is a sustainable use of resources, there is no need for a second set of infrastructure, when almost all needed is already in place. The substantial cost saving allows Feast to be more sustainable this year and for many years to come.
“All Festivals are about creativity, change and being resourceful,” says Margie Fischer, Chair of the Feast Board. “It’s Feast thinking inside and outside the square.”