The Sideshow has created magic moments in the West End community, and they will be remembered by Westenders and the Brisbane arts community. After just over two years of making Montague Road a more inspiring place, Sideshow brings the curtains down. May this be a time of reflection on the past and for planning the future.

Sideshow was many things. I would like to spend a few words to help us remember them.

First and foremost, Sideshow was the work of love of two brave human beings, Jaron Walker and Smilie Pants. Jaron and Smilie are local artists driven by a passion for flow art and with a vision to share their passion with the wider community. Sideshow was specifically designed for that. Jaron, Smilie, and Sideshow helped promote flow art in Brisbane. Although Sideshow is gone for the time being, if you are still hooked into flow art, stay tuned on West End Fire Fest Facebook page.  

Second, Sideshow was an arts space and the place where the artistic dreams of many people came true. On the weekend, Sideshow offered unique cabaret and variety shows. The venue was for hire, and many creative producers used it to bring their artistic visions to life and to the West End community. For example, recently they hosted a regular monthly Burlesque event organised by The Vaudeville Consortium.

Third, Sideshow was a fitness gym. During the week, they offered circus-inspired fitness classes including poi spinning, hula hoop, soft acrobatics, partner acrobatics, and dance. In this respect, Sideshow was a place to challenge your body with something unusual. They made fitness fun. 

Sideshow was also a café which served gourmet cakes and pies from the area of Byron Bay and delicious beetroot and chai latte. It was the perfect spot to spend a few hours working on your laptop surrounded by inspiring murals and friendly people.

Finally, Sideshow was a community space where disparate people have met and forged lasting connections. Musicians, visual artists, fitness gurus, and circus performers were brought together into this space. Sideshow was a place which inspired artistic collaborations and fostered friendship.

It is this creative and artistic synergy that West End will miss the most with the Sideshow closing down. In the hope that they will find a more suitable space to reopen for business, go on their Facebook page and give them a like.

I wish to personally express my gratitude to Sideshow for having provided a community when I needed it the most. A curiosity for poi brought me there one day in July. Past the mysterious and tantalising curtains painted on the tall garage door there was a wonderland of colours, music, and people to whom I remain attached. I have reserved a little space in my mind to preserve the memory of the smell of cinnamon from brewing chai and the lush colours of the murals covering the walls of the venue. Sideshow was a space for making – making art, making progress, making friends. It was a cave of love where life had a sweeter taste.