June 24, 2014

Party in the Park

It's always interesting to see how, with the passage of time, certain neighbourhoods change. It happens here in Perth, it happens throughout Australia, it happens all over the world. Call it gentrification. Or rejuvenation. Revitalization. Renewal. Whatever you and urban planners may choose to call it, with these changes come a shift in people's attitudes and opinions. Once upon a time, people would plan their trip to New York City and conveniently forget that NYC is in fact made up of five distinct boroughs and not just the island in the middle known as Manhattan. These days your life is apparently not complete if you've not sat on a miniature chair in the middle of a bar in Williamsburg drinking out of a picnic cup, and the tour groups just can't get enough of Harlem. How times change.

In a similar way, we've seen these changes happen in Perth. The areas which were once the mainstay of the working class or suburbs which were favoured for being family friendly are now the places where all the cool kids hang. A great example of this is Mount Lawley, and all the suburbs in the vicinity of the 6050 hood, which not only have an abundance of cafes, restaurants, bars and pop-ups but is also home to Perth's biggest street party in the form of the Beaufort Street Festival. While Mount Lawley is a great example of what can come out of having the involvement of local residents and businesses and a forward thinking council there are plenty of other Perth neighbhourhoods which are also ready to shine.

Being local to the Victoria Park area I've seen many great new businesses opening up along the strip. Awesome places to eat or grab a coffee and fantastic stores and boutiques. It would seem Vic Park is not short of fans and has its own fan club in the form of the Vic Park Collective. A group with the aim of facilitating business and community collaborations to make the Town of Victoria Park uniquely awesome, last Friday night they held their Laneway Launch street party in the lane which is the address of a mural painted by artists The Yok and Sheryo during their recent stay in Perth as part of Form's PUBLIC Perth project. 

As well as celebrating the mural, the Launch provided an excuse to have a street party complete with a bar courtesy of the cool orange Bar Pop truck and food cooked up by Jumplings and Little Caesar's Pizzeria. The abundant crowd was kept entertained by DJs from the Systematic Crew. Perhaps one of the thrills of the night was watching local Perth artist RLSM (with a little help from his pal Potion X) transform bare wood panels into a very awesome mural over the course of the night. Appreciated by all in attendance, particularly the little kiddies who sat at his feet watching in awe for most of the night.

It was definitely a great night with a fantastic turnout, and given that the days leading up had been nothing but rain the weather gods were definitely also in approval. Speaking with people I met on the night, some local residents and others who just happened to wander into the party, all were very impressed with not only the event but with the current and future planned work of the Vic Park Collective.

The hallmark of a successful event can be seen in the faces of all those who are enjoying themselves without any idea of all that has gone on behind the scenes to bring the whole thing together. It would however be remiss of me to not acknowledge the the very hard work of all the volunteer members of the Vic Park Collective and the local businesses, sponsors and town council who provided their support in making the night happen.

More information about the Vic Park Collective can be found on their website and Facebook page.  Many thanks to Shu Daniels of SOUL of SHU for the use of her images.

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