Belconnen Community Festival 2010
Held on November 13 Margaret
Timpson Park, Belconnen
The next festival will be in about two years
Release November 19, 2010, immediate release
Circo Belco and the Future Footprints Sideshow Razzles
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
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,
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
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.