Joondalup Festival: People flock come rain or shine

Mayor announces cancellation of Saturday night's program.
Mayor announces cancellation of Saturday night's program.

THE sun was out and the Joondalup Festival – in its 16th year – was in full swing, with thousands gathered around stalls, show rides and the big top in Central Park.

Across the way, local WAFL side West Perth trailed in a game it hoped would mark its first win of the season. And at the end of Grand Boulevard, a couple of Grace Anglican Church parishioners were meeting their priest, David Wood, to reflect on the next day’s Sunday readings.

Then about 4.45pm the heavens opened, with festival goers scampering for cover, Fr Wood feeling for the event organisers and the Falcons having no way back against Claremont at Arena Joondalup.

Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt, who had been at the football and seen dark clouds looming in the north-west, said the City had planned for every contingency except ‘the mixture of electricity and water’.

As a result, the evening’s lantern parade and community choir performance were postponed to the following night and the circus acts were cancelled.

But amid the disappointment, Mayor Troy Pickard could still smile and spoke to Joondalup Festival sponsors and supporters of resilience and a big second day on Sunday for the festival.

‘I am absolutely confident with the robustness and the resilience of the Joondalup community, indeed the West Australian people, that tomorrow they will be coming here in droves to enjoy a wonderful array of talent and performances and hospitality that is the largest cultural event in the northern suburbs,’ he said.

The next day people did return, helping swell the festival crowd to 27,500.

They enjoyed the big top, fashion, theatre, food markets, and music acts including the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, Nathan Gaunt and Stratosfunk.

After the twilight lantern parade and community choral performance, the festival finale featured the aerial antics of Ireland’s Fidget Feet and an impromptu cabaret in the big top from performers unable to perform on the Saturday night.