West End Community Association (WECA) hosted the first Kurilpa Community Day at Davies Park on Sunday, 19 September, as a COVID-safe alternative to the Kurilpa Derby. It was a huge day with a program of events, including children’s activities, bands, choirs, acrobatics, and forums.
The Westender asked WECA President Seleanah More about the day and what next. WECA wants to hear from those who attended and those who did not. Read Seleanah’s responses below, and if you can, complete the survey at the end.
The Kurilpa Community Day was a huge event. What was most challenging in planning for such a big occasion?
The most timely challenge for event organisers is being responsive to COVID safety and compliance. This was the main reason to hold a celebration at Davies Park. As a large (10,000 m2 +) outdoor fenced space with built in facilities (toilets/taps) it could hold up to 5000 people or be adapted to smaller spaces if COVID restrictions tightened.
The perennial issue for our local events is one of infrastructure provision to satisfy regulatory compliance and the demands and impacts of a large urban population.
As home to 31,000 people, WECA’s events highlight the need for public places to connect through a range of activities.
The event was free to the community. How important was it for you to keep entry free?
WECA advocates that public space is for everyone all the time. Davies Park is 120 years old- it would have been inconceivable to charge to dance on the field for the first time in many years.
Free entry welcomes people who maybe struggling financially. I think one of the revelations of the pandemic is that many people are vulnerable to financial hardship.
We appreciate those who could make a gold coin donation which will cover WECA’s core operations so that our volunteer management committee can continue to do local campaigns/ events.
It was fabulous to see so many musicians and performers in a COVID safe environment.
- How did you attract performers and groups to participate?
- What feedback have you received from performers/participants about the day?
WECA ran an EOI process for over 6 weeks. We had more than 50 EOI responses which programmers categorised across genres/ activities then assigned performance spaces. We did have some gaps which we sought to fill to create a program that spanned history talks, craft, music, and sport for 200 performers/ presenters.
They were grateful for the opportunity to perform and be paid after a year bereft of gigs.
“Thank you for having us play, we had the best time, and it was a lovely day for the community,” Life on Earth.
“Twas a great joyous occasion and I am so glad that I was once more a part of it and spreading some sounds this time too! Thanks for all your hard work and keen, attentive vision,” Carles.
The event was billed as a family day. How did you ensure there was something for all ages and interests on the day?
Families are the fastest growing demographic in 4101. The majority of these children are living in units and experiencing a green space deficit- only 12m2 per capita. So, it’s imperative that we provide opportunities to play outside.
A framing for the program was all the recreation activities that have been Davies Park. We wanted to fill the space with a mix of energy – that is community. The program had craft, music and storytelling in the kidzone and physical activity that had skill development (Acrojam) and competition in good spirit (3 on 3 basketball).
Kurilpa Community Day was a COVID safe substitute for the popular Kurilpa Derby. Do you think the community was responsive to the change of venue and new style of event?
The most common feedback is gratitude for holding a community event in these trying times.
“Many thanks to you and your team for organising such a wonderful Kurilpa Community Day on Sunday I really appreciate all the time, effort and planning everyone contributed to creating such a diverse, inclusive and interesting program. I thoroughly enjoyed the day. Thank you very much,” Michael.
Participants thoroughly enjoyed having access to the main rugby field.
“I just sat under a tree and loved seeing the kids run around on the grass. They need it!”
“WECA did a great job to make that happen,” Aunty Dawn Daylight.
Why does WECA think it is important for the Community to come together in this way? What does it tell us about our community?
Humans are hardwired for connection to each other and to places. WECA has learnt from the Derby that programming a space with non- regular uses forms new experiences to fuel creativity and community, for example, Boundary Street for non-motorised wheels rather than cars. Now that over 2500 people have had a positive and personal experience with South’s main field, we believe that connections will flow.
Are there sections of the community that are more likely or less likely to participate?
Across the day there were waves of different demographics, like families in the morning and young people catching the sunset tunes. Overall, we had good representation.
We were pleased to see some long-term locals affectionately known as “Old West Endies”. Shout out to Aunty Norma Morgan, a WECA founder coming up on 96, for attending. Special Thanks to Vikki Uhlman for accompanying her.
WECA welcomes unit dwelling residents of WoMo enjoying their nearest sporting grounds.
Who do you want to thank?
People power makes connections and celebrations happen. We are grateful to punters and performers for their contribution.
A huge thank you to all the volunteers especially SAE for techies, my fellow Management Committee of the WECA, and our amazing Event Team: Cameron Kennedy (Event Director), Harmonie Downes (Lead Programmer), Kristen Hopkins (COVID Coordinator), Aphrodite (Sports Programmer), Lil Crump (Kids programmer), Lousia Cass (Admin extraordinaire), Maeve Lejeune (Graphics) and Emma Iwinska (Vollie Coordinator).
Once again, the WECA event roll call included all levels of government and all parties. Thanks to all our local elected officials: Cr Jonathon Sri, The Hon Amy McMahon, MP Teri Butler and Cr Vicki Howard (Lord Mayor Rep) for attending Kurilpa Community Day and the WEFF 2021 Awards.
Thanks to financial or organisational support from Souths Magpies, BEMAC, Community Benefit Fund issued by State Attorney-General, Multicultural Affairs Queensland, Cr Sri the Gabba Ward, Lord Mayor Community Fund, Brisbane City Council Creative Communities, The Hon Amy MacMahon, and The Hon Teri Butler MP.
COVID has been hard on businesses, so we are especially grateful for the donations by 15 generous Local Businesses for the raffle prizes and event sundries.
As WECA reflects on the day, what do you think were your key successes?
- Will there be a next time?
- If so, what do you think you might do differently next time?
WECA is proud and pleased with the Event Team for putting on a safe event of such scale during COVID…..PERIOD!!!!!
We know there is great local demand for community events in public space (parks, school, and streets). The question is capacity to organise events and scheduling with many competing uses for spaces.
WECA has a tonne of notes that we are processing in evaluation.
Have your say!
But we want to hear from the punters.
Please fill in our Audience and Community Feedback at this LINK.
Seleneah More, KCD Event Team, President WECA
Cover image by Ange Costes Photography.