There is a Danish word – hygge – used to describe a sense of intimacy, warmth, and contentment. Organisers of the Fremantle Festival are drawing on this concept to curate a program that’s larger than ever for the inaugural 10 Nights in Port, a new and improved version of the staple community festival that’s been running since 1905. Featuring a line-up of events spanning live music, fireside storytelling and outdoor bathing, the City of Fremantle’s festivals coordinator Kathryn Taylor says 10 Nights in Port will take visitors “into the very heart of Fremantle.”
Over more than 100 years, the Fremantle Festival has become known for its celebration of Freo’s coastal sunshine and lively creative culture. Now, the newly rebranded 10 Nights in Port is shifting the focus to winter. Across a 10 day period (12 – 21 July), a well-considered program will feature events designed to capture the unique places and spaces of Fremantle in all their cooler season glory.
“10 Nights in Port focuses on the sense of connection to place that is elevated in the wintry months,” says Taylor. “This sense of closeness to Freo and its creative culture will be extended to all who attend.”
According to Taylor, the modus operandi for 10 Nights in Port is to produce something entirely Freo-centric – as if it were almost “woven out of the place itself,” she says. The result is a program full of site-specific projects that engage with the port city’s iconic historical architecture and celebrate its rich cultural, creative and musical history.
“We are focusing on interior spaces, winding laneways, intimate audience sizes, and themes of warmth, replenishment, togetherness and a safe harbour from the cold weather blowing in from Gage Roads and the Indian Ocean,” Taylor says. “It’s about coming together and drawing close to the underlying currents of this place, welcoming locals and visitors alike to discover the nooks and crannies, idiosyncratic traditions, grand old architecture and rich community culture of the Port City.”
Program highlights include Hidden Treasures, a series of local music gigs set to light up some of the West End’s most elusive workers’ clubs and small venues, plus Soak, which invites attendees to do just that in private steaming bath tubs placed thoughtfully around the Fremantle landscape. Meanwhile, Glass Houses & Green Futures will see five artist-designed glass houses around the neighbourhood host public horticultural sessions, in a celebration of Fremantle’s small-scale and community gardening culture.
10 Nights in Port also has a strong Aboriginal cultural focus, with a collaborative performance from five prominent Noongar family groups and the Perth Symphony Orchestra – Wowak (Breathe) – debuting at Freo.Social as part of the festival. Composed by Rebecca Erin-Smith, the work draws on the melodies and lyrics of the Wadumbah, Middar, Kwarbah Djookian, Koolangka Kreate and Muntart Yongah cultural groups.
“The project is a beautiful celebration of original music and the way that song emerges out of place,” says Taylor.
Visitors can also catch The Woylie Festival, which will see Noongar elders, writers, musicians and artists come together to share stories in a family-friendly, fireside setting.
10 Nights in Port will take place between 12 and 21 July. See the full program at http://www.10nightsinport.com.au.