It’s impossible to give Australia one specific cultural identity.
Melbourne in particular is different in every direction; every pocket of the city has been affected by waves of immigration which provided new injections of the food, characters and charms of the different ethnicities which made it their home. The Carnival of Suburbia taps into something that is perhaps consistently present across all ends of our city – the soul of the suburbs.
For many the suburban outskirts of Melbourne recall memories of a willingness to run around in a singlet or swimsuit under the sprinklers in summer, having a laugh and a beer with friends and work mates, practicing guitar too loudly in the garage or heading barefoot to someone's nonna's house for a feed. The festival runs for eleven days celebrating all the quirks, traditions and homegrown talent that begin in the under-appreciated 'burbs.
The festival has a bit of a tongue-in-cheek approach at times. Comedians Dave O’Neill, Glen Robbins and Matt Hardy will be reminiscing about their childhood experiences growing up on the outer areas of Melbourne, letting off fire-crackers and causing their teachers grief.
In a different tone local band The Orbweavers will use their gentle harmonies and eclectic mix of instruments to tell stories about local creeks, birds and industrial landscapes. While The Orbweavers were exploring the beauty of nature in their backyards, Graveyard Train were watching horror films in their lounge room. Their additional instruments are chains and a tool belt, thrashed together to complement baritone narratives about ghosts and ghouls.
Alongside Australian music legends and up-and-comers are international artists who share the globalised sensation of suburban life. Abigail Washburn from Nashville, whose passions include building relations between the US and China by banjo, is set to strum and sing alongside side-kick Kai Welch. Another quirky American act will be the premiere of the Sons of Sun, a rock ‘n’ roll play based on the unsung story of the man who discovered legends such as Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash.
The Carnival of Suburbia is based in Oakleigh this year during the last weeks of summer sun in the suburbs. The vibe from event goers over the past two years has been an appreciation for creative talent to be put back, unadulterated, into the context of where the seeds of passion first grew.
The Carnival of Suburbia runs from March 6 to 16.