For the last five months, I have been working at the Adelaide Festival Centre on an event called the Moon Lantern Festival. Involving around 70 Asian community groups from the Adelaide community, it involves food stalls, stage performances, workshops, cooking demonstrations and culminates in a beautiful parade of enormous lanterns, so big each one needs four people to carry it.
The event was last Thursday. Unfortunately, about an hour after the event began at 3pm, the bureau of meteorology issued a dangerous weather warning, and within half an hour horizontal rain and gusts of wind up to 70kph caused us to stop the event due to safety concerns. It was bitterly disappointing, for us as the coordinators, for performers, and for the 1200 people who would have taken part in the parade. But we had no choice – one key example of how unsafe the conditions had become was that one of the lanterns waiting in the holding area had been pulled off its base by the wind – the wind had snapped the bolts holding the lantern to the base. And the rain, of course, was terribly damaging for the lanterns, which were constructed of paper. Most of them were covered in plastic in time, although we have had several quite damaged.
The rain subsided during bump out, and the designer Kathryn Sproul lit the last lantern to be packed away for all the crew to marvel at what could have been.
The event left us all feeling deflated, and sad that all our hard work of the last five months had been wasted. But these things happen.
Festivals are terribly exhausting things. Early nights, long days, late nights, on your feet for up to sixteen hours a day. So all I have wanted to do for the last week has been sleep. But somehow, my body disagrees. One night it will keep me up until 1 o’clock in the morning, another it will wake me up at 2am. My body clock seems to be a bit confused. However, I had found that I have done a lot of reading during this time. Reading old favourites (rereading old favourites) is awfully comforting in this sort of situation. I read all of Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield the night I stayed up until 1am, and have gotten through The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks in the early hours of the morning. Last night I started Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden.
Today is my last day at the Adelaide Festival Centre before I move onto another project, but I have a few days off to recover in between. Hopefully I can get a lot of reading done, and a lot of writing!
What a shame the fickle weather ruined your event! On the basis of that one photo, it looks as if the parade would have been a marvel. I’m sure it’s difficult to see at the moment but, as is often the way with community events, there is as much long-term good done in the planning as in the event itself. So congratulations to you and all involved on getting the project to that point, good job!
And Carrie’s War is such a lovely choice for a reread – it’s one I’ve certainly read at all times of the day and night over the years!