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Belconnen Community Festival 2010

Circo Belconnen

Held on November 13 Margaret Timpson Park, Belconnen

The next festival will be in about two years

Media Release November 19, 2010, immediate release

Circo Belco and the Future Footprints Sideshow Razzles and Dazzles

A rare and glorious sunny day in this unusually wet spring brought smiles to the faces of over fifteen thousand visitors to Belconnen Community Festival in Margaret Timpson Park on Saturday November 13. Circo Belco and the Future Footprints Sideshow was the fifth Community Festival that Belconnen Community Service has presented to the ACT in collaboration with the Belconnen community.

The free daytime event included performances from over fifty-five local acts and over eighty stalls. Organisers set out to create a carnival environment incorporating aspects of circus, vaudeville, live music, physical theatre and pantomime.

Festival coordinator, Melinda Macpherson said, “We were overjoyed with the atmosphere and the fantastic crowds. We decided to use the space in the park differently from previous festivals to reduce noise competition between the stages. The changes worked really well and enabled us to present the biggest performance program so far.”

Circo Belco began with a welcome to country by Aunty Agnes Shea, a local Ngunnawal elder followed by an opening speech from Chief Minister and member for Ginninderra, Jon Stanhope.

The festival’s principle foundation sponsor of the festival is Westfield Belconnen. This year, for the first time, Westfield’s Santa starred in his own festival show, attracting large crowds of excited children. The Westfield Santa Show featured local celebrity, Milo the Clown alongside performers from the Fool Factory.

Circo Belco’s entertainment program was more inclusive than that of any previous Belconnen Festival thanks to a Federal Government grant through Festivals Australia. The grant supported the production of The World History of Razzle Dazzle. Billed as a playful variety show celebrating the history of popular performance, it was an extravaganza that was variously hilarious, heart-warming and deeply moving. Recently arrived young refugees rapped about their homeland in Sudan and their new life in Australia. Children in special education from schools across Canberra performed in a sublime act of drumming, clapping and singing. Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys opened the show with a smoking ceremony and traditional music and dance. They were joined by children from three local primary schools who have been learning traditional dances and stories with Duncan Smith of Wiradjuri Echoes. Adults living with disabilities performed the original “Razzle Dazzle” song in their joyful ensemble, Choir on Fire. These acts were complemented by slick, professional performances by jugglers Elena Kirschbaum and Pablo Latona, and highly accomplished belly dancing by Aradia Pope of Spellbound Bellydance. The show ended with a classic cream pie fight between hobo clowns and a mime followed by a parade of drummers playing specially made festival drums and singing “The Belco Shuffle”.

Benjamin Way became the environmentally sensitive Future Footprints Sideshow. Businesses, as well as community and government organisations with a green focus, showcased their innovations. Visitors old and young took the chance to ride choppers and tall bikes made from recycled bike parts by students of Melba Copland Secondary School. The “Street Stage” on the median strip hosted an energetic array of local bands including The Fuelers and Los Capitanes.

Circo Belco’s poster boy, Samson the Strong Man, was a huge bald muscle man delicately drinking a cup of tea. This colourful character roved the festival in person played by one of Insane Championship Wrestling’s pro wrestlers. He also appeared as a larger-than-life paper pulp sculpture created by community artists Tony Steel and Suse Ilshner with participants from Belconnen Community Service’s Open Art and Disability programs.

A welcome and unexpected addition to the roving performance program were two mounted police on matching brown thoroughbreds. The AFP were community partners of Circo Belco and were present in a Community engagement capacity.

U-Turn Youth Services provided The Riot Stage host of activities, stalls and performances for young people. Local bands played on a Gypsy caravan stage and young people participated in a skateboard competition and talent quest.

Milo the Clown said, “Circo Belco is the best early Christmas present ever! Can we do it again tomorrow?”

The festival team from BCS thanks all Circo Belco’s sponsors, funding bodies, stallholders, volunteers, performers and most of all, the visitors whose presence and enjoyment made the day such a stunning success.











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