The RSL Bulimba Festival might just be the very best of the myriad festivals that take place in Brisbane and surrounding locales each year. The 2014 RSL Bulimba Festival seemed a staggering success, with perfect weather and a massive crowd in attendance. The Bulimba event caters to everybody, with market stalls aplenty, food options galore, rides and games for the kids and a great music program. Furthermore, with all the local retailers and restaurants open for business in the festival zone, it is a terrific atmosphere with plenty to see and do. Of course, the fact that entry to the festival is completely free is no doubt a key factor in the popularity of the event.
Despite the current closure of the Bulimba ferry terminal for renovations, getting to the festival was remarkably easy. In my case, it was simply a case of catching a ferry on Kingsford Smith Drive at Hamilton and then disembarking on the other side of Brisbane River at Apollo Road, where a free shuttle bus was waiting for the short trip to the festival zone.
The music program this year was fantastic with indie rock legends The Church headlining the main stage. Joined by Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug for the first time, the band ripped through selections from their extensive back catalogue and showcased some new material for the throng who converged on Memorial Park for the show. Lead singer Steve Kilbey was in good spirits while Haug combined seamlessly with fellow guitarist Peter Koppes on the iconic riffs from classic tracks such as Unguarded Moment and Reptile.
It was a very well organised and executed event and the only difficulty I encountered was the distance between the Main Stage and the Live & Local Stage at the other end of the festival site which made it all but impossible to catch performances on both stages.
With plenty of festivals upcoming in the months ahead, event organisers would be well advised to use the Bulimba Festival as a template for success. The 2014 RSL Bulimba Festival was everything you expect from a free community event and much, much more.