A festival of culture, naturally

Viola Dana blend live music with archival footage in Tracing Family

THE Fremantle Festival is back in July, kicked off by the acoustic sounds of the Walyalup Kannajil Choir in a “contemplation of our place on the Indian Ocean”.

10 Nights in Port is a festive celebration of the culturally rich past, present and future of Fremantle, with many of the scheduled events focusing on the beauty of the natural environment. 

The program includes creative workshops for youngsters about the future of native wildlife, wintery relaxations in outdoor baths and saunas, an early morning adventure at sea, and an exploratory tour of local bush tucker. 

Fashion, art, dance, music and film will also be a focus, with fireside serenades, showcases of established musicians and up-and-comers, traditional storytelling delving into the Noongar fertility season Makuru, an exhibition of some of WA’s leading visual artists, and runway shows exhibiting the talent of local designers. 


Blending art and heritage, Tracing Family – From Italy to Australia features a screening of archival footage of Italian, Yugoslav, Greek and Jewish migrants making their voyage from Europe to Australia while local musos Viola Dana provide live “evocative soundscapes”.

The exhibition Underneath/Overlooked also highlights the city’s Italian connection, telling the story of the Scolaro family who are responsible for the iconic terrazzo decorative tiles which adorn many Fremantle houses to this day.

The Festival was switched from summer to winter in 2019 and was cancelled for Covid last year, and deputy mayor Andrew Sullivan says despite controversy around the decision, it had paid off.

“In 2019 the Festival successfully transitioned into a winter event that engaged and responded to Fremantle and its community,” Cr Sullivan said.

“Over 11,000 people braved the winter months and enjoyed a diverse program of events with Fremantle stories and artists at its core.  

“The Festival brings audiences to Fremantle in the depths of winter, a time when visitation is historically low. 

“Remarkably, City of Fremantle was able to deliver a sold-out Hidden Treasures Winter Music Festival every Thursday night in September 2020, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” Cr Sullivan said.

He said this year’s attendance was expected to be strong, shown by a couple of shows already selling out despite the lineup just being announced. 

The Festival lasts 10 nights with activities and events throughout the day across 25 venues and with 340 artists participating.

The full program is available at 10nightsinport.com.au.


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