Your guide to Wollongong's Viva La Gong festival 2017

SPECTACLE: A twilight lantern parade will replace the usual Crown Street mall parade for Viva la Gong this year, while street performers will still roam around MacCabe park. Picture: Adam McLean
SPECTACLE: A twilight lantern parade will replace the usual Crown Street mall parade for Viva la Gong this year, while street performers will still roam around MacCabe park. Picture: Adam McLean

Wollongong’s biggest arts and cultural festival Viva La Gong will be without a colourful street parade in the middle of the day but expect a twilight delight with lanterns in its place.

As the MacCabe Park event falls on Remembrance Day this year, it has been moved to a later start at midday and will finish at 9pm.

Textile artist Stacie Sims has made and sourced more than 200 crocheted poppies for an interactive installation at the festival which will be completed throughout the day.

She said she loved creating site specific installations as it brought down “barriers” between the community and the artwork.

“I love there’s not that pressure for people to stand there and say ‘yes, yes, this is lovely’. People can just go up and give it a hug if they want to,” Ms Sims said.

Read More: All the photos from the 2016 Viva La Gong

COLOURFUL: Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and ​textile artist Stacie Sims hold poppies ahead of Viva La Gong festivities on Saturday. Picture: Adam McLean

COLOURFUL: Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and ​textile artist Stacie Sims hold poppies ahead of Viva La Gong festivities on Saturday. Picture: Adam McLean

A giant concrete and metal sculpture will also be a centrepiece to the festival which Ms Sims will be weaving recycled yarn onto, while festival-goers can also assist with.

Other new additions include a short film showcase, slam poetry and comedians which will be mixed in with the usual blend of circus acts, children’s performers, cabaret, musicians, dancers, multicultural groups and market stalls.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery loved that the council run event was another platform to keep the creative community thriving.

Read More: Wollongong council overhaul Viva La Gong

FLASHBACK: Stephen Henry playing the didgeridoo at Viva La Gong 2014. Picture: Adam McLean

FLASHBACK: Stephen Henry playing the didgeridoo at Viva La Gong 2014. Picture: Adam McLean

“People are taking the initiative all around the place to express themselves – whether that be a visual arts, performing arts, music or whatever. It’s really interesting to see people feeling this is a climate in which they can do that, that’s part of the environment that we’ve created in that notion of a creative city,” Cr Bradbery said.

“There’s a lot of organic stuff that’s happening, people are doing their own thing and we’re creating opportunities and Viva is one of them.”

There’ll be a zone for drop-offs and pick-ups for people with disability at the Pioneer Hall car park in MacCabe Park. People with limited mobility who self-drive should contact Cultural Services on 4227 7111.

For the program CLICK HERE

FESTIVAL HIGHTLIGHTS:

La Petite Grande tent

  • Charlie Truscott – high energy physical theatre, circus, slapstick and characterisation
  • Ivana Trinkhalot – Late Great Magician Halfdini seems to have disappeared. But the show must go on and Ivana (Rani Huzzar) brings the Greatest Magic Show ever performed by a magician’s assistant.
  • Great Dave – he will amaze you with his comic, high level circus skills including his ability to manipulate crockery while riding a six foot unicycle.

Cafe De Rude

  • Children’s stand up comedy
  • Bingo
  • Joke Competition
  • Wollongong Comedy Show

Community Stage

  • Mkud Makedonski Biseri
  • Conchords Choir
  • Silver Lotus Tribal Bellydance
  • Wawel Polish Dance Group

Main Stage

  • Little Ngargens Dancers – Welcome dance performed by local Indigenous young people.
  • Hot Potato Band – This 11 piece brass band features New Orleans inspired brass band influence with an Australian edge.
  • Austinmer Dance Theatre – These strong and passionate contemporary dancers reference ballet, slow dance and hip-hop.
  • Lantern Parade – 5:40pm
  • Steampunk Gypsies – A fusion of world dance from Celtic inspired pieces to steam powered industrial and vaudeville.
  • Short Film Showcase – featuring Beyond Empathy’s Protection, Green Flicks’ Illawarra 2017 first place and People’s Choice winners
FLASHBACK: Performers at Viva La Gong 2016. Picture: Adam McLean

FLASHBACK: Performers at Viva La Gong 2016. Picture: Adam McLean

WORKSHOPS

  • PRINTING WITH RUST Learn the 100% sustainable ancient textile technique of printing with rust.
  • MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER Create your own mixed media and watercolour artwork.
  • SPUN OUT CREATIONS Fun, collaborative pedal-powered artwork.
  • PAINT AN UMBRELLA A family favourite craft activity.
  • FALUN DAFA ORIGAMI LOTUS WORKSHOP Learn to make an origami lotus flower.
  • SWINGALELES UKULELE WORKSHOP Come along, grab a ukulele and play a song.
  • NAN TIEN TEMPLE LANTERN PAINTING Get creative painting a lantern.
  • SPOKEN WORD Test out your slam poetry skills.
  • NAN TIEN INSTITUTE MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES Mindfulness activities for everyone
FLASHBACK: Children play at Viva La Gong 2016. Picture: Adam McLean

FLASHBACK: Children play at Viva La Gong 2016. Picture: Adam McLean

MORE FOR THE KIDS

  • Family Interactive Zone
  • Art space for kids
  • Scouts activity area
  • Circus playground.