A festival to inspire

Fremantle Festival 2016: 28 October – 6 November 

THIS year’s Fremantle Festival has lofty ambitions: to inspire the city’s artists and residents and put the stamp on its claim to be WA’s cultural capital.

Fremantle council’s culture and arts manager Pete Stone says they deliberately focussed on booking acts with new works.

“We need to inspire, and what inspires most is new works,” Mr Stone said.

“Fremantle likes to talk and see itself and an arts hub, so it was obvious that we should look at ways that could be enacted.”


He says there’s a strong classical musical element.

They also wanted the festival to provoke debate, and put a lot of effort into attracting keynote speakers likely to push boundaries. Already they’ve copped some right-wing rants for choosing Waleed Aly, the darling of progressives, but the gamble has paid off; talks by Aly and feminist Clementine Ford are all-but sold out.

“With the internet and social media, we are saturated with ideas and opinions, but perhaps it’s the idea of just sitting down and hearing someone talk that’s really appealing,” Mr Stone says.

This year the festival completes its transition to a wholly curated event, and one of the immediate benefits is a simple and easy to follow program.

“It might sound a bit simplified, but I really wanted a program where you could open to any page and see all the events of that day, so just three or four events rather than being bombarded by too much choice.”

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