IT’S been 17 years since street arts performer turned festival organiser Brendan Coleman has been able to get out of Fremantle over Easter.
“I’ve not been anywhere else…since 1999,” he tells the Herald over coffee with boss, mate and former busker Alex Marshall.
Both performed in the original buskers’ festivals (later renamed and widened to street arts) before Marshall took over running the show some years ago.
In 1999, councillors Leonie Deegan and Doug Thompson kicked off the idea of turning the streets of Fremantle into a sea of buskers, based on the port city’s love affair with street performance.
“It’s come a million miles [from then] it’s starting to look like what we dreamed up,” Marshall says.
Originally, the cappuccino strip was closed for two days, “because we couldn’t close it on Monday”.
This year the strip, Market Street, and part of High Street will close to traffic as more traders embrace the festival, and performers from around the globe gleefully line up to be part of the three-day street arts bonanza.
For the first time, some acts will continue into the night, the streets remaining closed.
“Cafes and restaurants will stay open, and acts will go late to support that,” Marshall says, adding the entertainment will move into a more musical style in the evening, including world-renowned Tuareg music with Nigerian/French band Ezza.
“Night time will be roving music, so there will be a nice vibe.”
Bathers Beach will also be a focus this year: “We have never had a focus in that area before,” Coleman says. “the backdrop will be Kidogo [and the Kelp Bar].”
Marshall and Coleman scour the world for acts and there’s a mouth-watering assortment from the UK, US, Europe, Ireland and Argentina, along with some of Australia’s best.
It kicks off Easter Saturday to Monday, but if you’re keen there’s a sneak preview, Thursday (March 24), including a rocking performance by Ezza. It’s free and at the arts centre, 6.30–9pm. For the full program check out the Fremantle council website, or grab a program from the library.
AN act that started out with a shopping trolley and a sound system on the streets of Dublin has transformed into a rave party in a container in Fremantle as the Lords of Strut crank up the music and everyone inside gets down to a 30-minute boogie on the port city’s mean streets.
With their shopping trolley, Cian Kinsella and mate Corma Mohally had the back alleys of their Dublin home pumping. “We were dressed up in our gear and playing dance music. “We were making and scratching, looking like such idiots,” Kinsella says.
Contain-A-Rave will be parked at the Sail and Anchor pitch, near the Fremantle markets Saturday and Sunday March 27 and 27, 9.30pm. Tix $10.