Creating a music spark in Ballarat’s heritage heart

From 12pm to 12am on Friday 29 November, the city’s restaurants and cafes, pubs, bookshops and clubs will come alive with music as part of Fringe Benefits – A 12-hour event of music, dance, play and performance for visitors and locals alike.

Tara Poole, the City of Ballarat’s Coordinator Creative City, said the Fringe Benefits sought to set loose Ballarat’s hidden, and not so hidden, creative music and performance energy within the city’s buildings and streets.

“Fringe Benefits is 12 hours of musical and performance discovery. We’re celebrating our heritage heart, and the businesses who make the most of our city everyday, by merging them with a myriad of musical and artistic performers,” she said.

Fringe Benefits is designed to encourage locals and the thousands of festivalgoers who will be in town for the festival to explore everything Ballarat and its creatives, musicians and artists have to offer.

Are you a musician? A performer? A performance artist? We’re looking for you.

Maybe you own a cafe? A bookshop? A bar? We’re also looking for you!

“We’re pulling together a definitive calendar of events and activities, and you’ve got until the 30 August to register your Fringe Benefits event,” Ms Poole said.

“Tell us about your planned event, it will be listed online and promoted wherever possible.”

Ballarat’s Creative City Strategy, which encompasses the Ballarat Events Strategy, is committed to building upon the city’s existing creative sectors of artists, makers and dreamers. Fringe Benefits is one of the first initiatives to be promoted as part of the Ballarat’s Creative City website –

The website tracks the implementation of the Creative City strategy and helps provide tangible actions for artists, makers, creatives and others to benefit from the city’s focus on creativity.

City of Ballarat CEO Justine Linley said while Ballarat has always been a creative city, the Creative City Strategy seeks to increase creative participation and develop a world-class creative industry and precinct.

“It’s about bringing vibrancy to our streets,” she said.

“We already have a fantastic streetscape and a fantastic business community here in Ballarat, and the artistic element is something that’s in our DNA. The Creative City Strategy is about bringing that out.”

Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said the Creative City strategy is also dedicated to supporting all types makers, creatives and artists in developing a sustainable practice.

“Ballarat already has extensive history of supporting a diverse array of creative industries and individuals, from visual artists to craft makers, right through to architects and designers, and now we’ll be providing them with increased visibility, improved communication, educational resources and opportunities to exhibit, work and grow,” she said.

“The Creative City Strategy is about all of us, it’s about encouraging a different way of thinking to make Ballarat the city of the sustainable practitioner.”

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