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Playground Festival at the QUAD

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Playground Festival at The Quad in Lismore on Saturday 21 Sept. Photo by Rebecca Rushbrook

Playground Festival

The Quad, Lismore  |  Saturday 21 September |  10am  |  FREE

The QUAD in Lismore are becoming masters at transforming space and inviting community in to participate in interactive and immersive events. This Saturday sees The QUAD host The Playground Festival – an event designed to get kids away from screens and into public spaces. Marisa Snow put the program together. She spoke with The Echo.

For people who haven’t heard of The Playground Festival, can you tell us what it’s all about, who’s involved and who it has been created for?

This will be our second year of running Playground Festival, which is a one day event packed to the rafters with interactive fun for under 12s. The event is a co-presentation with Lismore Regional Gallery, and it’s aimed at creating a hands-on program for kids and their families, where everyone can really throw off their shoes, get down and get involved!

Loads of interactive performances, events and activities will feature at the festival; a Tight Wire playground, build your own giant bower bird nest, Spaghetti Circus, music workshops, and heaps more.

What do you expect to be the highlights of the festival this year, and what were the crowd favourites last year?

Yes so much to do! It’s hard to pick a highlight, but I am really looking forward to seeing the beautiful giant bower nests being built. Four nests will be built over the day with landscape architects Earth Play, co-created by families and children. We are also working with local circus engineers SeedArts to present a custom-built tight wire playground, where you can watch professional tight wire walkers and try your hand at walking slack-lines and testing your dexterity on the smaller-scale interactive playground. We’ve also got cultural workshops where the children can learn traditional dances and stories, and loads of awesome music, and workshops happening throughout the day. 

Why a Playground Festival?

I have always been interested in presenting a large-scale kids event that encourages more risk and creativity in children’s play. I was inspired by junk-yard playgrounds around the world where children have built forts and cubbies out of recycled materials in public environments. Rather than have an event where children are passive and just sit and watch performances, we are interested in an experience where the children are part of creating the content throughout the day, get to throw off any inhibitions, and delve into their innate sense of adventure. Lismore Regional Gallery has also been delivering a similar event for many years, called the Arty Party, and this is a continuation from that earlier incarnation.

Discussion around the dangers of too much screen time for kids have been receiving more attention in the media recently. Is this festival a kind of celebration and reawakening of the physical and active side of play, and of inter-personal interaction, in an attempt to counteract the all-pervasive and difficult-to-escape digital universe? 

Absolutely! The wisdom and creativity of children is so inspiring and I feel that opportunities for them to showcase those skills are slipping away behind the dreaded screens. Also, we live in such a risk-averse world, that children are literally forgetting how to climb a tree and throw a ball, as they don’t get exposed to those opportunities much anymore. This festival is really a chance to just play, create, run, balance, fall over and have fun doing it!  Oh, and you might just meet some magical creatures along the way…

This is an all weather event right?  What plans have you guys got if we do get some rain on Saturday? 

Yes the event can happen in all weather, we have loads of cover from wet weather – and the sun. The Lismore Regional Gallery is also open for some quiet moments of artistic reflection if needed, with tours led by their kids-hero, Peggy Pop Art, throughout the day. We also have loads of workshops happening in-doors, such as the Create your own Playground, and Early-Childhood Music workshops, as well as book nooks to chill and read a book, or draw a picture.

Any last messages for parents and kids coming to Playground Festival?

Come with your hearts open, and your feet, head and hands ready to play! We have loads of yummy food available on the day, and there’s plenty of parking at The Quad, off Rural Street, to make it super easy to access.

And it’s all FREE FREE FREE!

Check out lismorequad.org.au for the full program.

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