Multicultural Arts Victoria (MAV) returns for 2016, presenting the fifth annual Piers Festival, taking take place on Sunday 3 April at Princes Pier, Port Melbourne.

The festival will feature musical collaborations, kids’ activities, exhibitions and a gourmet paradise from Victoria’s exceptional artists and cultural communities that have played a significant role in the transformation of Australian society. With 12,000 attendees in 2015, the Piers Festival has grown to become an annual highlight in Victoria’s cultural calendar and a significant occasion to acknowledge and bring to light our Indigenous and multicultural talent.

From the time of its completion in 1915 until 1969, Port Melbourne’s Princes Pier was a major point at which many migrants, particularly during the post-war period, arrived in Australia, contributing to the diversity of cultural heritage of its citizens in the second half of the 20th century. Following the end of World War II, between 1947 and 1954 the Port Melbourne piers served as the arrival point for approximately half of the 180,000 refugees to Australia, with an average of 61,000 passengers arriving in the port each year. The first ship to arrive under the International Refugee Organisation arrived in Port Melbourne in 1947.

More than one million participants each year are engaged in MAV’s rich program.

Closed in 1989, and with a redeveloped site launched as a public space in December 2011, Princes Pier seemed like the perfect location for Multicultural Arts Victoria to present its first festival in January 2012, supported by many of the state’s leaders and creatives.

MAV is a not-for-profit organisation that has evolved over four decades into one of Australia’s most important bodies for the development and promotion of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) contemporary art, heritage and cultural expression.

Over 800,000 participants each year are engaged in MAV’s innovative, educational and culturally rich program, which also provides crucial advice and significant initiatives for career development and creative capacity building for artists and communities from established and emerging backgrounds.

The festival takes place as a reminder of the diversity of cultures that have enriched and keep boosting Melbourne’s multi-ethnic identity, with an aim to provide expertise in audience development, community engagement, and artistic excellence in CALD communities.

“Multicultural Arts Victoria has and continues to have a productive working relationship with the Greek community,” Jill Morgan AM, CEO of MAV, told Neos Kosmos.
“We have strong relationships with the artistic community and currently have a MAV board member of Greek heritage who is well known to the wider multicultural community, Mr George Lekakis. Previously we have had George Papadopoulos and Mike Zafiropoulos and EO Fotis Kapetopoulos.”

Mrs Morgan stressed that Melbourne now has the largest Greek Australian population in Australia, which has helped Victoria benefit enormously from the waves of Greek migration.

“In 2016 the Greek community are continuing to migrate to Australia and we are having a second wave of migrants heading to Melbourne because of the Greek economic situation.
“The Greek community is continually adding to the vibrancy of Melbourne and brings skills and leadership to multicultural Melbourne,” MAV’s CEO added.

Headline act, Archie Roach.

MAV, held during Victoria’s Term 1 school holidays, will be headlined by legendary Indigenous singer/songwriter Archie Roach alongside new global musical collaborations, kids’ activities, forums, exhibitions and a gourmet paradise from Victoria’s exceptional artists and cultural communities.

The festival’s main stage will feature one of Australia’s finest Celtic rock bands, Claymore, Italian Greek aficionados Magna Grecia and Con Kalamaras.
Orkeztra Glasso Bashalde’s wide- spanning repertoire from Romanian gypsy to klezmer, Arabic and Balkan melodies will give its place to a powerful ‘mana’ from the Polynesian dance group Nuholani.

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s favourite ’60s Asian/Western garage pop explosion Empat Lima, followed by sensational high-energy collaborators Amaru Tribe & The Lalibelas featuring Oscar Jiminez and Nhatty Man, will have everyone on the pier singing and dancing within minutes.

The Landing multispace will also bring together a collection of some of Victoria’s most active cultural associations representing their communities and culture through exhibitions, activities and performances.

Meanwhile, Lella Carridi has curated an interactive performance entitled What Happened at the Pier, which will feature live poetry readings, forums and musical responses inside The Gatehouse on Princes Pier, alongside an exhibition of artefacts and moving image illustrating the narratives from the artists and the Memory Keepers who arrived to Melbourne from Princes Pier.

“Many Greek stories to be told and remembered …” Jill Morgan muses.
“I look forward to the Greek community celebrating our diversity at the Piers Festival held at the very place where so many of the first Greek migrants arrived – Princes Pier.”

When: Sunday 3 April (in Victoria’s Term 1 school holidays), 12 noon-7.00 pm. This is a free entrance event.
Where: Princes Pier, Port Melbourne
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