Festival turns 20

GIANT prehistoric birds, strange ants and a group of naked Brits will be just some of the fun at this year’s Street Arts Festival in Fremantle.

Now in its 20th year, the festival has come a long way since starting out as the Buskers Festival in 1998.

“It was so modest,” project coordinator Brendan Coleman says.

“A few locals and a couple of inter-staters who happened to be in town.”

• Brendan Coleman with 20 years of Street Art memorabilia. Photo by Jenny D’Anger

Zany acts

But punters loved the concept and it soon became an annual fixture in the local arts scene.

A founder of Freo’s Bizircus and a busker, Coleman performed in the first five festivals, and was part of the push to change the name to Streets Arts, but it didn’t go down well with people attached to the Buskers tag, including yours truly.

But with the name change, the festival organisers introduced roving street artists, and they drew record crowds.

“We wanted to do other things…other forms of street theatre,” Coleman explains.

The festival now features artists from a dozen countries, including the UK, US, New Zealand, France, Germany, Poland, Japan and Taiwan.

“This year we have an act from Finland for the first time,” Coleman says.

Zany performances include a bunch of Brits doing “nudie runs” through the streets, and Forest Ants marching “two by two”, having left their colony in Germany to explore the unknown city of Fremantle.

• Junkadelic will be joining in the huge WAHonk performance.

While What’s Next? consists of four Canadian male acrobats performing death-defying stunts.

And WAHonk is back with a mix of street performers and bands.

For those who remember the giant dinosaurs from a couple of years back, Dutch troupe Birdmen is back with huge roving birds stalking the streets.

This year’s Street Arts will spread further into the West End, as well as pitches on the Cappuccino Strip and Esplanade Reserve

It’s also stretching into the night for the first time, with street parties, and an outdoor pop-up bar for those seeking a drinks break.

Street Arts kicks off Good Friday (March 30 to Easter Sunday (April 2).

by JENNY D’ANGER

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