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Fire warms Docklands

06 Aug 2017

Fire warms Docklands Image

By Sunny Liu

Fireworks, sculpture burns, roaming music and food stalls brightened the NewQuay Promenade at the inaugural Docklands Firelight Festival.

The three-day winter festival attracted 32,000 people to Docklands from June 30 to July 2.

According to the City of Melbourne’s pedestrian number counter, NewQuay concentrated the highest number of pedestrians than any other CBD location and surrounding area during the festival.

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The promenade was transformed into a live stage for roaming music performances, complemented by fire pits, flamethrowers and welcoming cooking from food stalls and restaurants.

Live music, fire breathing, effigy burning and lantern processions topped off by the dearly-missed fireworks, mesmerised the large crowd.

The wooden sculptures burned on a floating barge in Victoria Harbour across the three days were Man, Sun and Bird, representing the Winter Solstice-themed celebrations.

The festival proved to be a helpful boost to NewQuay restaurants, for it compensated for the drop in visitor numbers in winter.

All restaurants along the NewQuay Promenade were inundated with hungry festival-goers forming long queues, wanting to try out Docklands’ diverse cuisine.

Chan Uoy, owner of NewQuay restaurant Bopha Devi, said Firelight was “extremely successful”.

“It brought a lot of people down to Docklands. We had a full house for all three nights and we had to turn some people away because we were packed,” he said.

Mr Uoy said he hoped to see more events like Firelight in Docklands.

“We need regular entertainment activities to complement with hospitality,” he said.

“Having just good restaurants is not enough and people need to be able to eat and entertain in Docklands.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle also highlighted the success of this winter festival.

“The Docklands Firelight Festival was a great success and provided a major boost for Docklands,” he said.

“The festival was the perfect way to bring people together during winter and let Melburnians experience the fantastic space we have on offer in Docklands,” Cr Doyle said.

“There was a real buzz at Docklands and residents and businesses benefited from the extra activity.”

“Winter activation of Docklands and the water has become a real Melbourne highlight and I look forward to building on this festival,” Cr Doyle said.

The Firelight Festival is followed by the eight-week Docklands Winter Glow Festival, which brings 3D art, progressive dinners at local restaurants, workshops and themed discussions with personalities such as Father Bob Maguire and stylist Lana Wilkinson at Library at The Dock.

Winter Glow also converges local Docklands businesses and aims to invite more people to the glowing Docklands from June 28 to August 23.

Tickets to the Glow progressive dinners, workshops and talks can be booked on Eventbrite.

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