Grieves: Mount Gambier Fringe Festival

Published Thursday, September 6, 2018 | Share:

Today I rise to speak about the Mount Gambier Fringe Festival. An event which brings Mount Gambier alive with music, comedy, dance and performances. It is a festival that encourages our community to explore and embrace the regional arts scene, and showcases our town to a wider audience.

The festival’s inaugural event was held in 2017 when around 8,000 people enjoyed Mount Gambier’s first foray into the entertaining world of Fringe. 

This year Mount Gambier residents came out in force with over 12,500 people attending the numerous performances held during the event. 

The festival commenced with a vibrant street party in the Cave Gardens with many residents attracted to the pop up bars and the food stalls offered by local eateries. 

There was an uplifting spirit in the City’s streets. It was truly inspiring to see local businesses embrace and elevate the weeks long event.

The colourful street party included family entertainment to amuse the children, such as face painting and carnival rides, whilst the parents could enjoy entertainment provided by local musicians such as Ben Hood and also participate in the Zorba dancing in the Main Street. 

Other events during the festival included Out of the Box curated by Mark deNys, the performance of Silent Bell in the Silent Cave, Cirque Nocturne, Blues Uke Fest, the After Hours Cabaret Club and dance performances  Trolleys and Losers delivered by Lewis Major as well as many more performances.

We have been very fortunate that Louise Adams, who was a finalist on X Factor, has embraced the Fringe Festival. As well as being involved in the organising of the event, Ms Adams also put on a show titled “A tribute to UnPlugged” which took audiences on a musical journey through the iconic MTV unplugged series.

As the audiences are taken through a journey of the regional arts world, they are also taken on a tour to some of Mount Gambier’s iconic locations. The festival parades itself across the town, taking advantage of the early autumn weather and spreading the joy of being creative and being inclusive to some of our most celebrated settings.

I look forward to seeing the festival grow to the renowned natural landscapes that our town has to offer, perhaps a local play or production at the Umpherston Caves, or a family fun day at the Valley Lakes.

The festival has a wonderful opportunity to prosper across our town, and it is sensational to witness our town embrace the arts scene that we have to offer.

We see it every day on the way to work and our children on their way to school, the cars driving ahead of us containing the South Australian number plate reading South Australia – The Festival State. It is a daily reminder of the identity and the essence of our state. It is truly exciting to call such a celebratory and inclusive event home to Mount Gambier and to South Australia.

Mount Gambier will once again embrace the Fringe Festival next year and I look forward to joining in the festivities of the Lift off party on the 22nd March 2019 and attending the entertaining events and shows that only a festival of this kind can have to offer.

I invite the Premier to come to Mount Gambier to show his support for the Arts in regional South Australia and join in to the invigorating festivities.

So in light of the tremendous success of the Mount Gambier Fringe Festival I would like to congratulate all those involved, especially the Mount Gambier City Council.  The Council’s hard working team have sourced funding and sponsorship commitments and have established a building model which enables the growth of tourism and cultural economy in the region. 

The festival provides a forum for our local artists to engage with our local community and to also learn from visiting artists in a supported environment.

I also take this opportunity to thank the State Government for their previous funding commitment to the Mount Gambier Fringe Festival through Country Arts SA and SATC. 

I also thank the venue operators, the local businesses who provide sponsorship and support. And finally, I thank the artists who ultimately enable the festival to be such a success. The Mount Gambier Fringe Festival is an attraction to our vibrant community, and I commend all involved in a small and large way for pursuing the identity of our state, as represented by our number plates, to the regional community of Mount Gambier.