Gotta love a woman with Soul

moucheMandy Nolan

Mouche Phillips is the creative director for Soul Street, Byron’s free New Year’s Eve party running in the parks and beachfront of Byron this year. Mouche talks with The Echo about what’s in store.

What is the vision for Soul Street?

We wanted to create a fun, safe, family-friendly, alcohol-free event for locals and visitors.

Who do you think are going to be the highlights?

We have the kooky Dandyman, The Pitts Family Circus plus Spaghetti Circus doing fab circus entertainment, King Tide, Mojo Juju, Kyle Lionhart, a lovely new discovery Annie Plummer, Flash Mob Dancers and an Amazing Flea Circus as well.

How has the community got behind Soul Street?

Members of the community are so grateful there is something they can bring their families to as most have avoided NYE in town for years. So they are pretty excited.But to be really honest, we have had only about 10 local businesses who really saw the value and importance of this type of event happening and they have come out well to financially back it.

The lack of other local businesses seeing the value in supporting the event has been a real eye opener and pretty disappointing. We are trying to get the message across to them that a happy, drama-free NYE does affect the whole summer tourism vibe in this town and we need to make it enticing to families and the more chilled-out visitors and discourage the more unpleasant ones. If we achieve this, their businesses will benefit. I think these types of events really set the tone for this outcome.

You have acts like Dandyman, King Tide Band and Mojo Juju that would usually attract a big ticket price, but this is free! How many people do you have capacity for where you have set up?

It’s really exciting to be able to offer up great entertainment to people free of charge. I especially feel great for parents as we all know how much it costs to take kids out for a night. We had such a big turnout last year I decided to put the stage out in the middle of the street in front of the Community Centre, put the circus tent in Railway Park and Samba-Blisstas at the Clocktower.

Who else has supported Soul Street?

The volunteers at the Community Centre have been helpful as usual, finding all the bits and pieces needed to make it special, and the two new girls at Council, Marissa and Claire, have been great. It’s wonderful having people now in Council who have event and producing backgrounds.

It has made our job at BCC a lot easier. Tess, who runs the markets, is organising the stalls for the event and is such a joy and is my sanity when it comes to programming. She lets me know if my ideas are good or crazy. Paul Spooner, of course, for allowing us the opportunity to take the challenge.

What should we expect for NYE 2014?

Entertainment from 4pm onwards in a street full of colour, movement, music and performance from Byron artists and some out-of-towers who just love performing here. We want the town to be able to reclaim their streets on NYE, be able to relax, watch the fun and have a gorgeous night in the heart of Byron.

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