The heat of the morning was softened by light drizzling rain as the second day of festival entertainment commenced and punters emerged from sleepy tents. A tiny bit of wet settles the dust, and makes for a more comfortable festival experience, as the trek around tents and past stalls can take the toll on the sinuses without a good rinse.
After sneaking in a quick, always satisfying peek at The Bella Fontes at the Orchard, the day begin with an unexpected surprise. Canada’s The Franklin Electric transformed a sceptical crowd, who had left the dance floor empty to commence the set, and converted a few hundred new fans to their indie folk/rock stylings. I was impressed. Frontman John was an engaging host, and quite the musician, switching from keys to guitar to horns throughout the gig. The set even included a little acapella harmonising, as the boys went acoustic when their tunes drew to a close. The sign of a great festival act is the ability to engage and grow the crowd during the performance and The Franklin Electric excelled. They even got an album download from me. I doubt I was the only one.
Griffith University graduate Kristy Seymour (pictured) has been working in circus performance for a decade now and I was keen to see her talk on her experiences teaching circus to kids with Aspergers and on the autism spectrum.
Without my kids here, it was a little nostalgic walking into the children’s festival which is a separated area near the main festival gate. A veritable playground behind the fences, the children’s festival consists of a large bamboo structure, maybe 5 or 6 metres high and 10 metres wide, with cylindrical funnels weaving throughout it and pointing randomly out to the sky and nearby trees. Surrounding the structure are dozens and dozens of soccer balls. The mass appeal to children of throwing balls at a target and watching those balls weave their way through the structure was evident. Watching frustrated dads getting beat by their kids, and competing amongst each other was also amusing. Surrounding the structure, a variety of activity tents entertain and amaze the children, and in one of them Kristy’s talk for parents had started. She’s amazing. She’s absolutely changing the lives of sometimes confused and anxious children and parents and if you haven’t had a chance to check out her thesis, and you’ve got a young person on the ASD spectrum in your life, it’s definitely worth a look. Kristy is yet another example of a society-changing Gold Coaster shaping the world positively.
After my fix of Josh Pyke (who will play Studio 56 at Marketta on Feb 4) and some Paper Kites, both of whom were a bit melancholic for my current mood, the day’s highlight kicked off. The “O Canada” Showcase featured The East Pointers, Irish Mythen, The Franklin Electric and Scott Cook. Diverse in genre, but all phenomenally talented, the Grande tent crowd loved them. Each played a cover, plus two originals, and mixed the schedule up so no artist play all three in a row. The concept was a hit, and so were the performers. In particular, Irish’s cover of ACDC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and the East Pointers covering Sia’s “Chandelier” had the audience captivated.
My night finished with the requisite nightcap in the Pineapple Lounge with Bearfoot reggae that followed a little performance from Daniel Champagne, who brings his incredible guitar talent to the Cavill Mall stage in Surfers Paradise on the early evening of January 2, and a little Captain Dreamboat, a West End jazz/roots outfit. Another big day down, with so much more talent to come.