THE 2015 Prom Coast Seachange Festival got off to a flying start on the weekend. Even before the official opening at Foster’s main hall on Friday evening, the ‘Double-Take’ shop window installations along the main street had Foster all abuzz. Also on Friday was the hugely popular fresh fish lunch at Port Franklin Hall, while the Fish Creek Hotel in association with ABC Open hosted a day for writers. Days earlier local schoolchildren participated in watercolour workshops with acclaimed author/illustrator Alison Lester at Fish Creek.
There was a festive atmosphere in the foyer of the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre for the official opening of the festival, which preceded the premiere of FAMDA’s home-grown production, ‘Waratah the Musical,’ set in the seaside town of Sandy Point.
The chair of the Prom Coast Seachange Festival committee, Deb Bray, took the opportunity to thank “the most wonderful committee of women who have worked for 18 months to pull this together”. They have, she said, worked with great support from the community, ensuring Seachange is very much a community festival.
Deb Bray recalled that the first of the biennial Seachange festivals began with 22 events. Ten years later more than 60 events jostle for attention, with the festival running over two weekends. “You should all be proud to be a part of this,” she told the crowd of committee members, sponsors and ‘Waratah the Musical’ audience members.
She thanked the festival’s many sponsors, noting in particular the major sponsors, who include the Toora and Foster Community Bank branches, South Gippsland Shire Council, Esso-BHP Billiton, and ABC Gippsland.
Hazel Park primary producer Llew Vale OAM, foundation director of the Promontory District Finance Group, the board of the Community Bank, and still very much involved in the bank, was tasked with opening the festival. He noted that the Community Bank’s vision of reinvesting profits back into the Prom Coast community made it a perfect fit with the Prom Coast Seachange community festival.
“There’s something for everyone in the festival,” he said. “That’s one of the things that make it great.” Then, after thanking Deb Bray and her co-ordinating committee, he declared the 5th Prom Coast Seachange Festival officially open.