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Plans for Docklands winter activation

04 May 2017

By Sunny Liu

Docklands will welcome two festivals to activate its waterfront in winter.

The City of Melbourne and Docklands Chamber of Commerce held a community session at Library at the Dock on April 12, where they presented plans to turn Docklands into a popular destination this winter.

Event management company Fruitbowl has been selected to help the council deliver two major winter events in Docklands – Harvest and Ignite.

Docklands Harvest will run on May 19 and 20 at Buluk Park and will feature live music and performances by Velvet archers, lantern making, effigy burning and a variety of food offerings.

The second day of Docklands Harvest will feature family activities, including sausage making, gardening for balconies, lantern making and more.

The Docklands Ignite festival (official name to be announced) will activate Docklands’ NewQuay Promenade and the north part of Harbour Esplanade from June 30 to July 2.

According to the City of Melbourne, three large wooden sculptures will be constructed to float on barges and one set on fire each night in a ceremonial “burn”, including a procession of light involving the community.

Each night of the Ignite festival will be supported with fireworks, curated soundtracks and light or fire-based live performances to brighten up the atmosphere.

This program is inspired by the celebrations of the Winter Solstice and aims to be communal, warm, engaging, colourful and interactive.

The Harvest and Ignite programs are to be staged as a replacement for winter fireworks that used to light up Docklands’ waterfront every Friday night during the winter months.

Local businesses are far from being satisfied when the winter activation plan was announced, with business owners saying the one-off festivals would not compensate for the loss of winter fireworks.

Melbourne Showboat owner Jeff Gordon told Docklands News he was “disappointed” that the two-day and three-day events would replace the weekly waterfront fireworks.

“The previous winter fireworks benefited mine and other surrounding businesses greatly because it brought a lot of people down to Docklands. We could get 350 people on the boat to watch the fireworks,” he said.

“But the proposed Harvest and Ignite events could be affected by weather. Putting all the activation into a three-day event really worries me.”

Mr Gordon also said the City of Melbourne and Fruitbowl had not been actively engaging the businesses with their plans.

“So far no one from Fruitbowl has consulted me about the events. I don’t think they realise Docklands’ marketing difference is the waterfront. It’s not just another suburb in Melbourne.”

“It seems they are running the events without engaging local businesses and they are operating exclusively in a bubble,” Mr Gordon said. “I don’t think it’s going far at all.”

More details of the Ignite festival will be released around May 22.

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