New Darwin Mini-Festival Slated to Become Annual Community Music Event
A fine and sunny Saturday afternoon during Darwin’s iconic Dry Season and the cooling breeze sweeps in across the Beagle Gulf from the Timor Sea, gently ruffling the pine trees along the serene foreshore of the Casuarina Coastal Reserve. This is the setting for the inaugural Imagine Seaside Carnival, a small but feisty new local live music and culture event resulting from a collaboration between Foldback Media NT and onsite eatery De la Plage. The festival attracted over 1,100 people through the gate.
The motivations for making Imagine come to life were intrinsic to our charter. Foldback Media NT has long been a mainstay of supporting and promoting Northern Territory live original music and cultural events of all stripes, documenting the local scene with photography and videography for posterity. An event by us with local collaboration at all levels was a logical next-step in our organisation’s evolution. We knew we had not only the stage talent in the NT to make this happen, but a wealth of local behind-the-scenes talent we could ask to come on board.
The grounds of the Darwin Surf Life Saving Club, upon which De la Plage is located, provided the perfect environment for the vision of Foldback founder Jean-Eddy Moutou to bring about a local and independent community festival where an almost all-NT artist list could perform to their community. Roots reggae inspired themes mixed with drum culture, hip hop dance and more traditional R&B were to provide the upbeat but chill seaside vibe sought for Imagine. We were able to put together a top-notch team of co-producers and arts professionals, a marketing specialist, a volunteer co-ordinator, site and door managers, décor directors and a photography and videography team to make this happen, on-time and on-budget. COVID safety and general security underpinned making Imagine a safe and inclusive event.
Stall-holders and food vendors rounded out the festival experience, with something for everyone – clothing, cuisine, badges, environmental groups and play activities for the kids were all on offer throughout the afternoon and into the evening. The Darwin Surf Life Saving Club ran the bar with an emphasis on the Responsible Service of Alcohol.
Being an inaugural event, it was important for us to celebrate the historical aspects of the local live music scene expressed through the musical lineup. We sought to honour the legacy of those early groups through highlighting their intergenerational achievements. Wildwater, with a 20-year history of performance in the NT, was our headline local act, still as strong as ever. Fronted by Djolpa McKenzie, Wildwater delivered stirring saltwater reggae and rock sung in Burarra language, Kriol and English. Fast-forward to emerging reggae-rock youth band JAHquavis fronted by Callum McKenzie on the ticket, with a new take on the genre while keeping the tradition of infusing Burarra language into their songs.
Mista Monk, born in Katherine and with a long history of making music both in this country and overseas, has his roots in local outfit Culture Connect from the early 2000’s. Drumming Up The Storm (DUTS) is an intergenerational collective of predominately young performers, learning and sharing their cultural heritage through Pacific percussion and dance under the guidance of Log Drum master, Airileke Ingram. DUTS was birthed in 2019, working with traditional log drums carved from Mahogany trees fallen at Darwin Middle School during Cyclone Marcus. The mix of young and old drummers trace their roots back to past local collectives Club Congo and Drum Drum with a cross-over of Wildwater members, emblematic of the wonderfully-fluid Top-End music scene.
It was of the utmost importance to us that the stage looked good, was professionally run and that the music sounded great – it did, it was and it did! We are especially grateful to E3 Productions and the sound (well done Asher!), lighting and tech team for giving us a great audio and visual experience (well done Sambo!). Our stage decorators and graphic artists created just the right vibe we were after.
What would any tropical festival be without a fashion show! Our site manager and crew moved quickly to put down a lit catwalk mid-show for local designer Stringala to display their latest designs.
None of this could have happened without the great support we received from our many sponsors – many thanks to:
- Northern Territory Government (via the Community Benefit Fund)
- Regional Arts Australia
- Australian Government Regional Arts Fund
- Northern Territory Regional Arts Fund
- Mojo Collective
- E3 Productions
- De La Plage
- Zip Print
- Nook Backline
- Living Right
- Darwin Surf Live Saving Club
- Lauren Moss – Member for Casuarina
- Fairy Jill’s Enchanted Entertainment
- Power and Water
- Mr Barra
- Absolute Coffee
- Bullseye Trading
A special mention goes out to our indefatigable Emcee Mikaela Simpson for keeping the ball rolling throughout the event – the perfect host.
The artists that made it all possible:
- DJ RaggaRae
- Drumming Up The Storm
- Mista Monk
- Stringala Fashion Show
- Mista Savona
- Fairy Jill (Roving Performance)
- Fuego Del Mar with DJ JEM, Laydee Loopin and Miss Possum
Our food vendors, stall holders and activities providers:
- La French – Delicious Sweet & Savoury Crepes
- The Magic Cauldron – Magnificent Nuts & Fairy Floss
- Old Fashioned Lemonade
- De La Plage Burger Bar
- De La Plage Café
- Jumping Castle and Soccer with LCA
- Face Glitter with Fairy Jill’s Enchanted Entertainment
- Create Your Own Button with the Mad Badger
- Painting Workshop with NT Art Storm
- Casuarina Coastal Reserve Landcare Group
- Foldback Producers – Gaia Osborne & Jean-Eddy Moutou
- De La Plage Producers – Sevan Guzel & Claire Pirau
- Volunteer Coordinator and COVID Safety Officer – Mathilde Mercadier
- Door Manager – ‘Mookie’ Minoushka Hesketh
- Site Manager – Jack Buckley
- Décor – Alexis Berquand and Maite
- Videography – Joshua Florendo
- Photography – Steve Kelk
- Marketing – Josephine Shearn
- Audio-Visual, Lighting & Stage – Asher Gregory, John, Sambo, Tommy De Leon, Rachy VanWyk
Lastly, a big thank-you from Jean-Eddy and the team for all of the volunteers who put in a big day to make the inaugural Imagine Seaside Carnival an astounding success! We hope to see you all again next year.
*The Imagine Seaside Carnival was held on Larrakia Land and for that we thank the Traditional Custodians and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.