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Take a bow Summersalt

12 Mar 2015

Take a bow Summersalt Image

By Louis Blake

Take a bow Summersalt Festival, collect your roses and soak in the applause.

There were no opening night nerves for the debut performance of Melbourne’s latest cultural extravaganza. Over its run from January 23 to its grand finale during last month’s White Night festivities on February 21, the outdoor arts festival wowed tourists and locals alike.

Anybody lucky enough to stroll around the Arts Precinct over Summersalt’s five-week run would have been amazed by the astounding number of music, art, theatre, dance and circus performances available for our entertainment.

Summersalt Festival often left one feeling dazzled and disorientated at the sheer numbers of artistic talents and activities on offer.

With over 135,000 attendees entertained by an array of acts and installations, the bold summer initiative easily demolished its original target of 80,000 visitors.

Despite a very tight time frame to put Summersalt together, festival director Kirstin Siddle said she was “delighted” at how the ambitious arts celebration turned out.

“The feedback has been great,” Ms Siddle said. “Everybody really has seen Summersalt as a great positive for the local community.”

Ms Siddle extended her most sincere thanks to Southbank residents and businesses.

“Our neighbour’s support has been incredible” she said. “It really has made us feel fantastic about what we’re trying to do.”

The goal of the Summersalt festivities was to turn the Southbank Arts Precinct inside out and get art and artists that would normally be hidden away inside one of the many world-class venues that call Southbank home and onto the sun soaked streets.

In addition to getting world-class creative talent onto the bustling thoroughfares of Southbank, Ms Siddle wanted to ensure that a great majority of the acts and installations were free or very cheap so that people who normally wouldn’t engage with the arts could have the opportunity to do so without having to spend much money.

Amidst her busy schedule Ms Siddle did have time to take in much of the festivities that she was organising. Personal highlights for the festival director included the raucous music and dance of the acrobatic troupe Scotch + Soda, as well as the Giant Opera Dress Up Box that was set up on Dodds St. Most of all Ms Siddle was extremely impressed at how open and engaged the general public was to the pieces on display.

“There was one dance piece in particular that was very challenging,” she said. “I was delighted to see that people were still engaging with it regardless.”       

Summersalt Festival currently has an application before the State Government for continued support. With plans already in the works for another round of art and arts entertainment that will not only be bigger and better, but Ms Siddle promised that a second festival would take even greater advantage of the fantastic spaces that the Arts Precinct has to offer.  

After this year’s rousing debut performance I, for one, am standing in the aisle clapping for an encore.

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