Fractangular for families
10 February 13
We came along to Fractangular to connect with friends, have a dance, spend a bit more time playing with the circus set and to discover if Fractangular really had grown past its party-minded selfishness. The open-air collaborative arts festival that is Fractangular is a conscious evolution from bush doof into something more creative, family-friendly and sustainable. This year’s production was granted additional funds by the Arts Council of Australia for its valuable contribution to the arts community here in Tasmania.
The festival is held on private property in a remote location an hour and half northeast of Hobart, with designated camping areas separate from the music and arts precincts. Composting toilet facilities were constructed for the event, and huge generators provided the electricity for the vast quantities of wattage emanating from the speakers and lasers cutting the night sky.
We arrived well after the party had already started, and in some ways we weren’t there for the main dance-floor. We’ve attended a bush doof as a family before, and while the kids loved watching the show, as a single parent I’m focusing on the girls’ entertainment rather than my own. It was the side-shows that kept us entertained. We discovered a designated kids’ space with trampoline, swings, a see-saw and jumping castle.
Across the way, the Flying Fox circus had juggling accessories and hoops laying on the ground, with someone always available to give a hand in demonstration or technique correction. In this way, Fractangular was a natural follow-up to the CircusFest for those who had started learning certain skills two weeks ago.
A slack-line was set up in the trees, and various people kept practising their techniques on it, providing both entertainment and inspiration to others who stood around and watched the show. Forget about simply balancing on the line, the goal seemed to be to bounce from a sitting position into an upright walk along the line.
Our girls enjoyed the hammock village the best. Festival-goers had hung their hammocks up in a shady glade, and the girls quickly sussed out the most robust one for their games.
Our girls do love to dance, but they felt intimidated by the crowd and the lack of other children dancing and chose instead to spend their time exploring the grounds with friends. Children were around — just not on the dance-floor, and I think Fractangular really has progressed into a family-friendly event. With younger children like ours, I didn’t stay up late, dancing until dawn. Instead, we retired to our bus and watched a movie while the music continued all night.
I was pleased to see teenagers camping with their families, dressing up in outrageous costumes and masking themselves with face-paint before walking up the tracks to the main stage. It’s encouraging to see whole families participating in events like this, and if our girls continue to be interested in the arts, we’ll likely attend Fractangular and other family-friendly bush doofs in the future!