In Harmony – Festivals for our future
A festival can unite a community, especially when it reflects the values and ideas that are truly important.
Festivals do more than provide an opportunity for people to showcase what they are good at. They are wonderful networking opportunities that build community connections and encourage the sharing of talents and resources in ways that support a big picture vision for our towns. The Warburton Harmony Festival and Ecotopia are two great examples of festivals we are proud to sponsor annually that have the wellbeing and prosperity of people in our community at heart.
Harmony Festival, now in its fifth year, has evolved into a unique multi-faith, interdependent event that relies on local talent, the support of many local volunteers and participants who travel from all over the world to join us. This year an Indigenous thread bought together a diverse program of art, performance, meditation, workshops, dialogues, forums, films and children’s activities. More than one thousand people attended the four-day program during which many events were free thanks to our sponsorship.
Festival organiser Keith Simons says, ‘Warburton is the perfect place for this event because it has a natural and magical atmosphere. People experience themselves differently when they come here and this creates ripples back out through the community and into the world for months after.’
Ecotopia, the annual festival of ECOSS, brings the best of eco and sustainable living to the Yarra Junction parklands. Festival organiser Chelsea McNabb says one of the great tests of the festival’s success is how little waste is created despite thousands of people attending. This year’s theme ‘Celebrating the honey bee’ is fundamental to the sustainability of every species including humans.
Ecotopia organisers used their sponsorship money strategically this year. They invested in infrastructure to make it easier in future years, buying a stretch tent (Main Stage Marquee), bins, flags and quality banners. They were also able to pay performers and sound engineers a small fee. ‘Without this sponsorship the generosity of the community can be burned out as we beg, borrow and steal before the event,’ says Chelsea.
Sponsorship was also used to enhance accessibility so that face painting and one hundred felt bees could be shared with the children at no cost.