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Editions

Docklands to lose Japanese festival

05 Mar 2013

Docklands to lose Japanese festival Image

A festival that attracted 15,000 people last month is unlikely to be held in Docklands next year.

The Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival has been held at the NewQuay Piazza for the past four years and has attracted a growing number of visitors each year.

The festival is organised by the Japanese Society of Melbourne and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and aims to celebrate Melbourne’s Japanese community through music, food and dance.

Festival organisers were told late last year that the piazza might not be available in 2014 due to the planned NewQuay Central development.

Because the redevelopment plans have been pushed back, the festival organisers were told they could book the site but the booking could be cancelled up until four months before the event.

Junko Fundeis, from the festival steering committee, said this was not an option because the organisers needed more certainty about the festival venue.

She said the committee had started looking for a new venue for the festival as soon as they were informed the piazza wouldn’t be available.

Ms Fundeis said it was likely the 2014 Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival would be held at Federation Square.

She said the festival organisers loved holding the event in Docklands and hoped to return.

“We still consider Docklands the best venue for our festival and it would be great if we can come back to Docklands some time in the future,” Mr Fundeis said.

But Docklands might have retained the successful event for 2014 had the festival organisers been made aware of alternative venues earlier.

The Planetshakers have held a carols event at the Piazza for the past three years. Due to the planned works the organisers are in discussions about gaining a permit to hold this year’s event on Harbour Esplanade.

Ms Fundeis said she had not received any guidance about other venues in Docklands that could be suitable for the festival.

Destination Docklands is aware of the issues surrounding the festival but Ms Fundeis said she had not been contacted by the organisation.

Destination Docklands CEO Anita Donnelly said she had emailed Ms Fundeis offering assistance with finding an alternative venue but had not heard back.

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