As summer drew to a close on March 23 we celebrated all things bayside and beautiful in Melbourne. Following the driving rain of morning, festivalgoers lazed beneath the shade of tea trees through the scorching heat of afternoon at Point Cook along the city’s western coastline.
The two Day by the Bay summer festivals were a chance to appreciate and communicate the beauty and diversity of Port Phillip Bay in situ, as part of Remember The Wild’s Connected to Port Phillip initiative.
Nature and culture were brought together in the form of these sustainable festivals which showcased an incredible lineup of musicians alongside an array of artistic and culinary delights in two areas of stunning natural beauty along Melbourne’s coastline.
Connected to Port Phillip is all about connecting communities with their Bay. Locals and visitors flocked to Mornington Park and Point Cook Coastal Park for these family-friendly days of fun, learning and inspiration.
Members of hardworking community groups had a chance to share their work and their passion with members of the community, who in turn appreciated the opportunity to learn more about how they can care for and connect with our beloved Bay.
‘It was humbling, and a great privilege to perform our songs about Melbourne waterways and the estuarine salt-marsh environment in the location they were written about.’
Day by the Bay Point Cook
The beauty and environmental significance of Point Cook Coastal Park was not lost on the day’s headline act, Mojo Juju, who remarked to the crowd on the pleasure of playing in such a location.
Attendees strolled around the craft and community stalls, stopping at food trucks for refreshment along the way. Others sprawled on grass and picnic blankets around the stage while children clambered on the playground or had their faces painted with marine designs by talented bayside resident Bella Rose.
Groups combed the shore nearby as part of a ‘Learn How to Nature’ workshop run by Nature Connections, as awed crowds watched artist Mark Trinham carve a stunning marine display from a humble ice block. Other visitors were busy learning how to make their own organic skincare products with Mademoiselle Organics.
At the start of the day a group of students from Wyndham Secondary College was given the opportunity to snorkel the reefs of Point Cook with bayside business Dive2U – an activity organised by the Connected to Port Phillip team.
Dedicated volunteers from groups like the Werribee River Association and the Dolphin Research Institute spent the day discussing their work with interested community members. It was a valuable opportunity for festivalgoers to discover the wonders the Bay has to offer and how we can better protect it. A giant roving Weedy Seadragon hand puppet handmade by a volunteer was one highlight – a character who may be familiar to local schoolchildren who have had a visit from this creature to teach them about bay conservation.
Viewers of the digital photography exhibition, which showed off the incredible marine life that calls our Bay home, left amazed and inspired to try snorkelling or diving in the waters of Port Phillip.
Melbourne band The Orbweavers also shared their enthusiasm for playing at this unique event: ‘It was humbling, and a great privilege to perform our songs about Melbourne waterways and the estuarine salt-marsh environment in the location they were written about. Day by the Bay festival encourages connection to and celebration of the Bay, while also emphasising our shared responsibility in caring for it.’
‘Its up to everyone to do their bit for the Bay.’
Day by the Bay Mornington
The festival at Mornington Park, on a sublime 25-degree day, overlooked the sparkling blue waters of this much-loved part of Port Phillip Bay. Revellers basked on picnic blankets to enjoy the music of the Triple R live stage.
Between sets visitors chatted to members of organisations such as Earthcare St Kilda, who look after the beloved penguins at St Kilda Pier, the team at Swinburne PrimeSci with their participatory demonstration showing the effects of pollutants on waterways, and Amellia Formby of Wing Threads, who brought along the impressive microlight aircraft she plans to fly around Australia to teach school children about shorebird migration.
Local artisans and culinary vendors provided for other needs, including the popular White Shark Café, where the coffee queue was a chance to learn about, and discuss, the shark species found in the Bay and the Tag For Life campaign to help them.
A group of young adults sitting on the grass by the stage asked about the concept behind the festival, which led to an impassioned discussion about the Bay beside which they grew up and the shared responsibility we have for it. One young woman said firmly: ‘It’s up to everyone to do their bit for the Bay.’
Banner image courtesy of Tim Brown.