THE prospect of a second Dockers grand final appearance will test more than the players: Fremantle council’s new arts and culture manager Pete Stone is putting in the hard yards to, at a moment’s notice, transform the cappuccino strip and the Esplanade Reserve into a sea of purple.
“It will be a big celebration…with big screens on the Esplanade and on the strip,” he says, fingers crossed for a Dockers/West Coast derby at the MCG.
Football razzamatazz, citizenship ceremonies, the Laneway Festival and winter’s Hidden Treasures — it’s been a rollicking four months for the former arts centre manager.
Working with the city’s festival team he has a swag of projects on the go, including a big public art installation that’s set to grace Canning Highway.
And he’s shifted the focus of the Fremantle Festival from South Terrace to Kings Square.
“This year will have a hub around the town hall,” Stone says. “It feels like the right place to centre the festival around and get people engaged with the space.”
There’s a stellar line-up of performers in the town hall, including four-time Aria winner Katie Noonan, local gem Abbey May and Ruby Boots, a same-sex dance championship and Halloween ball — and a massive closing party that’s open to all-comers. Kings Square will come alive with public art, an alfresco bar and a full-sized fishing boat, funked up by local artists, that people will be invited to destroy.
“Over the 10 days of the festival the boat will be deconstructed and people can take a bit to make furniture,” Stone says. And then there’s the coloured smoke stacks sending signals from the top of the heritage-listed town hall, signalling there’s a party in town. Kidogo Art House owner Joanna Robertson welcomes Stone’s appointment: “I would say he is extremely qualified…he has a special talent to do the job.”
by JENNY D’ANGER