By DAN RAWLINS*
THE sounds of chatter and laughter mingled with the acoustic hum of a live guitar and talented young vocal performers. Hints of mouth-watering lamb quinoa bowls and freshly made cheesy pizzas wafted through the crowds. Goofy giant sunglasses were worn as young families piled into the photo booth, grinning ear to ear as they reviewed the hilarious family photo to be placed on the fridge at home. And none of it cost them a cent.
This is what you get when all parts of a system come together to plan a festival that is truly designed by community for community – the kutalayna Collective’s Community winter festival.
The festival provided an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate and to allow local families have a say in the future of their community.
The heat of several glowing fire pits lit up people’s beaming faces as they warmed their hands on creamy pumpkin soups served in tin mugs. A mother, her children and grandchildren, erupted in celebration as their golden ticket was drawn – they were the lucky winners of the winter hamper. The squeals of delight as the local fire brigade tirelessly triggered the flashing lights and alarms on the big red fire truck. Children (and adults) furiously peddled on a converted bicycle that whirred up another healthy, tasty smoothie.
The kutalayna Collective is a local community group using a Collective Impact approach to understand the needs and wants of this community and to join the dots across all parts of the system to make it happen.
In another room a young, local Aboriginal girl stood in front of a three-metre-long poster, actively engaged, a serious look on her face and a big decision to make. She’d been given one blue sticker to place it onto the whole-of-community Collective Plan on the topic that was most important to her.
Many local community volunteers, MONA, Brighton Council, State Government, Tasmanian Aboriginal Council and several local service providers all collaborated to back the vision of a tireless community working group to bring this to life.
Children eagerly walked through the crowds, headphones on, microphone in hand, interviewing fellow community members. Parents labelled and filled packets of seeds to grow their herbs and veggies at home.
That young Aboriginal girl, after careful consideration, placed her sticker next to “Young Aboriginal Children are healthy, safe and learning.” She is engaged in her future.
Community festivals have the power to bring people together to laugh, listen to music, eat fresh food, celebrate their unique diversity and have a say in the future they want to see… and with the careful planning by actual community members, that’s exactly what the kutalayna Winter Festival achieved.
If you would like more information about this community celebration, visit www.kutalaynacollective.com or follow us on Facebook at /kutalaynaCollective
*Dan Rawlins represents Kutalayna Collective Backbone