Brisbane’s newest street festival showed us just how good a block party can be.
It might seem strange to talk about a street festival only after it’s happened, but when an event manages to combine a perfect location with a lazy Saturday atmosphere and ruthless planning behind the scenes, I just have to tell people about it. I’m a reviewer, after all.
And did I mention the food, drinks, markets, and music? There was plenty of those things, too.
The End of the Line Festival was on Saturday, November 8, in the final stretch of Logan Road at Woolloongabba. That’s the charming little strip with the violinmaker’s shop, and nearly all the best restaurants, cafes and bars in Woolloongabba – think Enoteca 1889, Pearl Cafe, and Canvas, just to name a few.
One of the first things that stood out was how well the shops and eateries were integrated into the festival. Most had special extension areas on the road outside their doors (the street was closed to cars), serving up unique meals, or showing off their wares. There was even a Campari cocktail garden outside Enoteca. The whole setup was so natural, it left me wondering why the street isn’t always pedestrians only.
When I chatted afterwards with Morgan Jenkins, one of the festival organisers and co-creators, he said the area was perfect for a festival, because with “the density of such quality operators in such a small, architecturally and historically intact street – the theatre was already there.”
And it wasn’t just the local businesses who got involved. I had a deliciously interesting duck sausage roll from a pop-up stall run by Caxton Street favourite Statler and Waldorf.
The festival ran all day, from 10 to 10, and if for some reason you felt you couldn’t spend the entire time eating, there was a strip of markets around the corner featuring finds from the legendary Woolloongabba Antique Centre and others.
There was live music and other performances, with stages at either end of the area. Remarkably for a reasonably small space, the sound from one stage never bled over into the other.
Space was used so well – you could see how much careful planning had gone into the event. When he’s not putting festivals on, Morgan is an architect, so I wasn’t surprised to hear him say that there are more ideas for using other parts of the precinct, and he’ll “definitely be giving them a crack next time.”
And the best news for people who didn’t make it down there this year is that it sounds like there will be a next time. “We couldn’t have hoped for such a great showing in our first year,” says Morgan. It’s estimated between 12,000 and 15,000 people attended throughout the day. “We are really hoping to build it in years to come.”
Photos of the stage and the crowd courtesy of Camera Obscura.
Review by Kit Kriewaldt