St. Kilda Festival
What do you get when you combine live music, carnival rides, tons of food booths, comedians, interesting films, cultural programs, a beautiful beach and cool foreshore, dancing, sports, and over 350,000 people? You get Australia’s biggest *free* outdoor festival: the St. Kilda Festival! I had the great pleasure of attending the St. Kilda Festival earlier this month and had a fantastic time. The festival takes place annually in February and more information can be found at http://www.stkildafestival.com.au/. There are all kinds of activities during the day and there are loads of things to do for singles, couples, and families. Though some of the programs and rides shut down in the evenings, the local shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs are jumping and there’s still much fun to be had.
Expect road closures, so public transportation is your best bet. I appreciated the discounted tram tickets from downtown Melbourne (a.k.a. Central Business District, CBD) to St. Kilda. The #16 tram ride did not take long and dropped us off within walking distance of the heart of the action.
Travel may be difficult for those with disabilities and families with baby carriages/prams, however. While walking around the festival, I also noticed some folks with dogs, but it’s not the best environment to bring pets if you ask me. They can either get stepped on by the crowds or step on something that they probably shouldn’t.
There is no shortage of places to eat and drink at the festival. If you are into carnival or fair food, you’re in the right place. Eat as many hot dogs, corndogs, meat pies, french fries/chips, ice creams, and cotton candy/fairy floss as you want. There’s even some “gourmet” carnival food like the Belgian chocolate sweets available from one stand called “Chocolate Orgasm.” You can take your food to any of the grassy areas for an impromptu picnic and I recommend hanging out by the music stages.
If you want to chill out in a restaurant, just walk along Acland Street (and the side streets) until you find something that tickles your fancy. I really enjoyed the cozy Scheherazade café for coffees. The proprietor George Szarach did not smile much, but the service was quick, the coffee good, and prices fair. Scheherazade is located at 99 Acland Street and their phone number is (03) 9534-2722. I later had dinner at Tandoori Times, which is at 194-196 Barkly Street. Just head down Acland Street and then turn left onto Barkly. Their phone number is (03) 9593-8166. Akash Tuteja is the proprietor and struck me as a jolly man. Food and drinks were a bit pricey, but not that bad. My partner and I had a great meal for less that A$50.00. I loved the Chandigarh chicken tikka masala and paneer naan in particular.
Take in all the different sights and sounds at the festival, too. One of my favorite activities was just people-watching. I saw a beat boxer gathering a small crowd, a woman in a nurse costume, men with extensive tattoos and piercings, cute kids in funky clothing, a guy with a pet rabbit riding his shoulder, elderly couples holding hands, and gaggles of teenagers hooting and hollering. What fun!
As for minuses, I did not like all the littering. Watch where you step to avoid broken beer bottles or yucky leftover food. Additionally, as the evening wears on, you are more likely to see people in drunken states. Some folks might look funny, but others are a tad scary. Be careful with the latter.
Finally, keep hydrated and wear sunblock during the festival. [more]
St Kilda Festival
St Kilda festival is held every year at the beginning of February and it runs for about two weeks with different events on each day, make sure you pick up a festival guide, you can find one in music shops and various shops and bars around the city. The festival is huge and I was shocked to see so many people there but it was a great day out. There is a fun fair, stalls, loads of different types of music performances, salsa dancing and lessons, wake boarding competitions. You name it! The day caters for all ages. The trams can get really packed especially at peak hours. [more]
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