Creatives to Unite at End of the Line Festival

Belgrave, nestled in the leafy surrounds
of The Dandenongs in Melbourne’s outer east, is home to End of the Line
Festival. The aptly named festival (Belgrave is in fact the end of the Belgrave
train line) made its debut in 2012 and achieved resounding attention for its
showcase of musicians, performers and artists who live in this friendly,
village suburb and throughout the hills.

The crowds gathered for last year's End of the Line Festival. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival
The crowds gathered for last year’s End of the Line Festival. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival

Belgrave has long been a tight-knit, open-minded
and creative community, holding strong ties amongst other villages scattered throughout
the hills. So, it was only natural for End of the Line Festival to emerge and
give talented creatives a supportive medium from which to deliver their art.

End of the Line Festival will feature many musicians next month. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival
End of the Line Festival will feature many musicians next month. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival

Like any fabulous idea, End of the Line Festival holds its
humble beginnings from casual conversations being transformed into effective
collaborations between talented people, as Festival Coordinator Brent Dakis
explains. “My wife CJ and I were continually having a conversation within our
store, Limerence, about the fact that there just wasn’t a large scale event or
platform to bring together artists and other creatives. That seemed odd
considering just how many artists live in the hills. We would continually say
‘someone should organise a festival’ but at some point along the way we
realised ‘well, why don’t we?’

“End of the Line began in 2012 from an absolute need
for a large scale public creative outlet. The community had so many incredible
artists and musicians, and it was getting close to overflow. So, CJ, myself and
Joshua from Peg Leg Productions joined forces to create a contemporary arts and
music festival that helped awaken our sleepy and incredible little town called
Belgrave.

 We did a Facebook
call-out to hold a meeting at the local alehouse to gauge whether people felt
it was a good idea, and to our surprise the venue was filled with enthusiastic
locals all with great ideas about what the festival could represent. It was at
this point we joined forces with Joshua Levi who had just moved into the area.
He was full of great ideas and vision and the inaugural End of the Line
Festival was spear-headed with the overwhelming support of our local community.

“This year, Kathleen “Snowy” has jumped on
board to help with the music coordination. The festival has grown and become
even more unique in its short lifespan and has attracted more community
involvement in ways such as grant writing, artists, musicians, volunteers,
sound engineers, and performance, all donating their time. It’s incredible to
see so much talent coming together for the sake of community, art and
music.”

It's a relaxed and happy vibe at End of the Line Festival. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival
It’s a relaxed and happy vibe at End of the Line Festival. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival

End of the Line Festival attracted 5,000 visitors last year. Over 40 musicians took part across five
stages and 200 artists came together to collaborate and create 25 exhibitions
spanning across the town. These exhibitions appeared in unlikely spots such as
laneways and even the local laundromat! This year, Brent has the daunting, yet
exciting task of squeezing 500 artists into the program as well as workshops
and market stalls. Plus, he’s expecting up to 10,000 visitors to the festival.

It’s
clear from Brent’s insights that visitors won’t be disappointed. “The main stage
is, again, going to have an incredible line-up of music. This year, we’ve added
a few more stages; there’ll also be music in the front courtyard of Earthly
Pleasures Cafe, a youth stage at the Tiffaney Bishop Collective, and music and
performance at Belgrave’s new venue Sookie (previously Ruby’s). There’ll be many
more exhibitions and Collective Consciousness is making a come-back too. There’s
going to be a very exciting audio/visual experience inside a room underground
behind the main stage as well.”

 Creative talents will be on display next month. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival
 Creative talents will be on display next month. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival

The festival is brought to life by the passion,
generosity and donations of musicians, artists and performers as well as from
the community. It would not be possible without the countless support from these
artists as well as dedicated sponsors, and the festival is also garnering healthy
support from crowd-funding through Pozible. “It’s such an incredible platform; all
of a sudden creatives have the ability to generate funds for projects and ideas
at the important stage of their work and, in a way, almost pre-sell their idea.
Pozible is a way that we can not only generate the funding needed to put on an
event like this, but it also allows people to feel a part of it and be able
to say ‘I helped make this happen’. Even if it’s a $10 donation – it all still
helps.”

 

There'll also be plenty of art on show throughout Belgrave. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival
There’ll also be plenty of art on show throughout Belgrave. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival

It’s encouraging to see End of the Line
Festival continue into its second year as the benefits are two-fold. “The first
and main benefit is to the artists themselves – to establish powerful
connections with other locals. Such is the nature of a lot of creatives to be
rather insular in their practice, and this event is an opportunity for them to
come out and join a very large artistic community and network; we have a host
of stories about new friendships and collaborations resulting from last year’s
event. Secondly, it’s a huge boost to the local economy, bringing both a large
amount of tourism and locals to the town. Shops and cafés gain a much larger
level of exposure than they would normally. One of the best things we heard
after last year’s event was: ‘I didn’t know how much Belgrave has changed. The
quality of shops is exceptional, the atmosphere is vibrant and we will
certainly be back soon.’”

End of the Line Festival is a supportive platform for all artforms. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival
End of the Line Festival is a supportive platform for all artforms. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival

First time festival goers will experience
a relaxed and happy vibe; the kind of vibe that’s the beating pulse of
Belgrave. It’s a community-spirited and inclusive day for everyone, from the lifelong
locals to the day-trippers heading to The Dandenongs. Those who come to the
festival are welcomed unconditionally. “The community here is unlike anything
else we have ever experienced. For people who haven’t been here before, the
festival provides that experience for them for the day; that feeling of
involvement. We jokingly talk amongst friends about not being able to leave
‘the Belgrave Bubble’, like it’s a big warm hug in bed that you just can’t ever
seem to justify getting out of. Yeah, I think people who come along will not
expect to feel it, but will be hit by two very large open arms.”

Don't miss End of the Line Festival next month. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival
Don’t miss End of the Line Festival next month. Photo credit: End of the Line Festival

Take the Belgrave train from Melbourne’s CBD and head to End of the Line Festival on Saturday November 30. The festival runs from 10am to 10pm and entry is free. The festival’s program will be released very shortly so keep yourself posted by visiting End of the Line Festival’s website.

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