Saturday, February 21, 2004

The party has begun

A perfect, hot summer night. People five deep made snake formation through the city as they lined the route for the Fringe Festival opening parade. And what a beautiful parade it was, transluscent shimmering fantasy confections, stilt walkers in glitter, lights twinkling and myriad zany, colorful performers. Even a transluscent camel and a large grouping of Afghan refugees - a good political statement about detention centres for a people who helped to pioneer this country.
I could not stay for the whole parade - since it took 3/4 hour to pass a given point and I was scheduled to be in a theatre reviewing a Canadian musical production. Its promotional material bulged with radiant rave reviews. I'm afraid it did not get one from me.
After the show, Gawain and I meandered down to the Fringe Hub to check out the action. The place was jam-packed. Rock band in deep marquee under vivid lights and masses of people dancing. Lawns and grounds solid with people. Another sound stage with a DJ and music with a visceral beat. More lawns carpeted with people. Bars and food stands. In the cloisters, a zillion people, many in fantasy costumes, drinking and watching sequences of buskers. Much laughter and clapping. Beer bottles absolutely everywhere - which alarmed me until I discovered that they were all plastic. And everywhere, an easy-going happy mood. A lovely mood for such a massive crowd.
And the Fringe has begun.
The city is out at play.
And that is what makes it different from Fringes and festivals anywhere else. The size and the cohesion of the city makes it an event for all. Old and young. Conservative and playful. Adelaide is artsing and partying...and so it will go on until mid-March.

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