Now in its eighth year, Junction Arts Festival is back this September, bringing a flurry of action, art and astonishment to Launceston.
Creative Director Greg Clarke is no stranger to putting on a show (he’s the man behind the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras), and 2018 marks his third year of being at Junction’s helm.
“We have a new focus on really trying to promote and program and work with as many Tasmanian artists as possible,” he said.
Close to 97 per cent of this year’s program involves Tasmanian producers or products, and according to Mr Clarke, it’s quality through and through.
“I think if you want to find out who is making the best [Tasmanian] art, or the best food or the best wine then this is the festival to go to,” he said.
“What you’re going to see is totally unique, you’re not going to see it anywhere else.”
Junction likes to do things differently, favouring peculiar spaces over the traditional.
“Rather than being in theatres or art galleries it’s in really unusual places like carparks or carwashes and old warehouses,” Mr Clarke said.
Launceston’s iconic Prince’s Square forms the heart of Junction’s festival program, featuring the Fountain Bar and a packed agenda of music, art and performances.
One such event is Roundabout, a dance performance put together by Mr Clarke and Mardis Gras choreographer, Virginia Ferris.
Working with Launceston’s Devil State Derby League, Launceston College dance students and the Allstar Cheer and Dance Tasmania team, the free show promises to light up the Val d’Osne Fountain with a dance, music and roller disco spectacular.
As Mr Clarke said, it will be “a little bit of Mardis Gras in Launceston!”.
Participation and community involvement is key to the Junction Arts Festival ethos and this will be particularly evident in the Remade Parade.
“We’re collaborating with Interweave Arts,” Mr Clarke said.
“They’re basically the biggest community arts organisation in Northern Tasmania, they work with a lot of young people and people with disability.”
“They have an annual event [Wearable Art] where they work with people in communities to make these amazing costumes out of recycled material. So they’re going to be presenting some of the best costumes from Wearable Art and presenting it as a parade.”
Nitty Gritty is another example of Junction supported artists working with the local community.
Mr Clarke said comedian Rachel Berger is sure to make this storytelling event a success.
“Her comedy has always been very much a form of storytelling, so we’re inviting people from the community to come and work with Rachel on a story around the theme of either changes or secrets – it has to be a true story, an authentic story – and then those individuals will then perform that story during the festival, ” he said.
For those searching for a bit of adventure alongside fine wine and good food, Mr Clarke said the Tamar Valley Feast will do the trick.
“[It is] actually a tour of the unexpected,” he said.
“You get taken on a bus to the Tamar Ridge Cellar Door where we create this wonderful one-off event, it’s a real combination of food, wine and performance.”