Orleigh Park, West End, May 2010
Brisbanites: Next time there's a full moon, head for Orleigh Park in West End.

My calendar says that tonight is the official full moon. So I was nervous last night when I took our family to Orleigh Park in West End after our huge day out at GoMA.

I knew that the fire-tricks community in Brisbane meets at Orleigh Park for a community performance once a month on each full moon. And my information said that May 27th was the day. But I still wondered if I had it right.

It didn’t help that we arrived very early. No one was in the park except a homeless man who lay down on a picnic table as soon as it started to get dark. Many joggers ran through the park, and cyclists zoomed past on the paths, but I couldn’t see anyone who looked like they might play with fire (present company excluded, of course).

Orleigh Park, West End, May 2010
We bought food at West End and ate our picnic at the park. We had about an hour and a half of playing before the action started.

Orleigh Park, West End, May 2010
The girls found it very exciting to play on the playground at night-time. The playground at Orleigh Park wasn't lit at all, but we could see shapes and movement by the light of the full moon.

Close to 7h30, people started to gather next to a group of shelters (where the hobo was, by now, fast asleep). Then someone lit a fire. A man started beating a djembe drum. The West End Fire Fest had begun.

West End Fire Fest, May 2010
And a lady began dancing, twisting a candelabra of fire around her.

A man joined her, twirling a stick lit on both ends. Others joined them or took their places and were replaced by fresh performers. Some had fire sticks, others had balls of fire on chains. One woman gyrated with a lit hula-hoop around her waist. We saw up to thirteen people performing at once.

Orleigh Park, West End, May 2010
We sat on the grass and watched the ever-changing show of performers and spectators.

West End Fire Fest, May 2010

West End Fire Fest, May 2010

West End Fire Fest, May 2010

West End Fire Fest, May 2010

West End Fire Fest, May 2010
There were up to three drummers providing a steady rhythm for the performers. (Calista *loved* the drummers — she preferred to watch them rather than the fire-twirlers!)

West End Fire Fest, May 2010

West End Fire Fest, May 2010
Still others performed with artificially-lit balls and sticks that changed colours, making beautiful patterns in the dark night.

West End Fire Fest, May 2010

Hobo at West End Fire Fest, May 2010
All through the entertainment, the hobo slept on — perhaps unaware, or perhaps deliberately shutting himself off through the closure of his eyelids.

It was a fantastic, relaxed evening of entertainment. The mix of performers and spectators was eclectic — families, emos, punks, students, middle-aged men, youth and clearly some crazies!

If you’re in the area, mark the calendar for the next full moon (June 26) and get yourself down to West End!