Yarra Ranges is my stomping ground. I never tire of its beauty,the creativity of its people, and the abundance of things to do and see.
Family friendly doesn't have to mean jumping castles
End of the Line Festival is literally "at the end of the line". The far flung suburb of Belgrave sounds bucolic and treesy, but it is home to a thriving community of artists, musicians and other creatives who wanted to build an arts festival that was theirs alone.
The inaugural festival last year was created by a handful of young, high energy local artists and business people. The free festival was delivered with no funding whatsoever, but a huge amount of donated time and expertise from some very talented and passionate people. Judging by the way in which the concept was embraced, this year's festival looks like being another resounding success.
The festival centre is in and around the main street of Belgrave, running down Blacksmiths way, which leads to the railway station. There are already a number of arts related shops in the town, who beefed up their presence for the festival providing exhibitions, and workshops.
The Cameo Cinema has an outdoor stage, which last year featured a fantastic line-up of musicians, who donated their time to make this festival happen. In fact last year featured 40 musicians over 5 stages, which is fantastic for a free festival. Relaxing on the Cameo Lawn, enjoying some of Melbourne's best musicians, including my personal favouroite April Maze, was a great way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon.
Even though this area boasts some damn fine cafes and eateries, the local community are not your traditional black garbed inner city hipsters. These people like a bit of colour, and they do it with style and panache.
There's also a market place selling interesting and unusual products. I bought a necklace made out of an old radio valve, and was very tempted to buy a cigar box guitar - except not sure that my talents are up to it. There were some different stalls which showcased the talent of artists in the region, as well as some more traditional "hippy" stuff.
There's yummy food, great coffee, gigs at various stages and venues throughout town, exhibitions, street performances, buskers, all right next to the last railway station on the Belgrave line, for your trip home. Last year I combined my visit with a stopover at Burrinja cultural centre close by, which has one of the best indigenous galleries around, and usually some eclectic exhibitions that are worth seeing.
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 30TH is the date to put in your diaries. Take the family, or go with friends, there is literally something that will appeal to a wide range of people, without being in any way bland or watered down.
The guys organising this year's festival are crowdfunding on Pozible to make sure that they can pay performers this year and put on another interesting, diverse artistic free event. If you like to support creativity and initiative, why not go to the Pozible website and chip in a few $$$ to help. The line up is even bigger and better than last year, with emerging artists/musicians as well as some well known popular acts.
So get along on SATURDAY NOVEMBER 30TH to Belgrave and support insanely talented local musicians, artists and the spirit of "community doing it for themselves".
End of the Line Festival is going to be absolutely amazing this year. Mpore than 70 bands over 8 stages, including Lily and King, Lloyd Spiegel, The April Maze, more than 30 art exhibitions around town, , the best artisan market EVER, yummy food, etc etc. BUT a warning, park at one of the stations along the Belgrave Line and take the train - or event better if you're coming from the city, just catch the train full stop. or park at Ringwood. Belgrave is terrible for parking, it's very limited, and what there is is really needed for the artists and performers...and it's hilly around there!!! They don't want to lug their gear up hills!