SLF 2014: Program Highlights – Big Weekend

February 13, 2014

It’s nearly the Festival (SLF) Big Weekend and it’s looking like very civilised, gentle conditions to head in and enjoy the Birrarung Marr delights along the Yarra. There may be a bit of classic four-seasons-in-one-day action so pack sunscreen, a water bottle AND an umbrella.

Australia’s largest sustainable living celebration is one of kind. To my knowledge, there is no other sustainability festival working with the following theory of change:


The Festival aims to create multiple ‘entry points’ for a broad audience to engage with sustainable living by -

The Guided Programming Stream (curated by the Festival core production team)
1. Presenting national and international sustainability thought leaders (the wisdom)
2. Celebrating the ‘disruptive’ sustainability pioneers (the innovation and ideas)
3. Showcasing sustainable living product and service solutions (the tools)
4. Providing thought provoking content in entertaining event formats using humour, art, music,
creative expression and fun (the emotions)

The Open ‘State of Sustainability’ Programming Stream (events staged by community members across Victoria…and beyond!)
5. Connecting like-minded individuals to local and international sustainable living networks (the

At no time is this model more evident than at the Festival’s Melbourne-centric Big Weekend, 14-16 Feb, 2014. Applying my personal selection criteria again, here’s my top picks of the jam-packed program offering:

Fri 14 Feb:

I’m volunteering at the Streetbank stall for most of Friday afternoon so there’s lots of events falling ‘below the fold’ unfortunately. But there’s a few I’m going try and squeeze in…

One of my favourite life delights is thoughtful design well applied, resulting in multiple positive outcomes. Instead of the triple bottom line I prefer framing it as ‘the triple wow factor’. (You know the feeling – you learn about something and immediately go, ‘wow…that just makes so much good sense!’) Learning how to create an edible forest garden has lashings of delicious wow in it for me.

Also dripping in wowfulness is the Treadlie Bike Projector Film Night. Films, bikes, veggie patches and a full moon illuminating your trail – what’s not to like? I’ll be there with my comfy, two-wheeled steed and slightly awkward helmet (it’s too big and black…making me look like a gumnut baby crossed with an SS trooper).

Sat 15 Feb:

A very busy day indeed! Attending even half these events would make me happy-chappy.

Evelyn Roth’s Nylon Zoo tickles my fancy – the giant, inflatable salmon is just so intriguing.

RMIT Green Inventors – love learning about RMIT’s latest student eco-edge walkers.

Chris Jordan at Deakin Edge – an international provocateur straddling the line between art and activism. Have admired his work for some years now. He’s an emotive speaker and I’m looking forward to hearing him deliver the Festival’s keynote presentation.

Battle of the Big – 10 minute ‘popcorn’ insights from some of our leading local change-maker luminaries.

Ok, now for a special last minute addition to the Big Weekend program! For the past week I’ve been in conversation with Ella Agren, creator of the Festival’s Gratitude Box. We’re keen to trial a little extension to her wonderful interactive art project.

At 6pm, Sat 15 Feb, you’ll find us collaborating with the delightful Steph Gesling and the Padmacahaya Melbourne folk for about an hour to deliver a special open heart meditation around the Gratitude Box: come join us for ‘a moment of stillness, joyfulness and collective gratitude’.

I have visions of this looking like some kind of ‘mini-mecca’ or a tiny version of those beautiful solar thermal plants…can you picture it? No? Well, maybe you just need to mosey on down and see it unfold in the analogue world…

Below the Fold

Have a feeling I’ll be too blissed out after meditating to make it to these events, but I would like to get to Art Climate Ethics and Undress Melbourne.

Sun 16 Feb

Backyard Beauties is a new feature of the Festival guided programming stream. I’m keen to get out and explore some of Victoria’s gardening goodness, so I’m aiming to check out this little permaculture farmlet.

Below the Fold

Too many to list, but I would recommend: dining at The Great, Local Lunch hosted by the ever lively Costa Georgiadis, getting some of your over-loved household items repaired at Fix It!and having a squiz at the Suitcase Rummage .

While you’re there, don’t forget to make use of facilities down near the Festival Greenhouse. I mean it. Make sure you go to the toilet! The Composting Toilet Systems (CTS) team will have their first mobile toilet caravan on-site for the day.

I’ve been waiting for the next iteration of sustainable event toilet infrastructure to enter the market for a while now. And, while I’m a big fan of the Natural Event service, it’s going to be interesting to see how the CTS guys build their business – a battle of the bog vans perhaps?

Finally, for those of you who feel the world is a just a little bit better when organised in a spreadsheet, here’s that SLF_personalmenu for you to download again.

See you tomorrow!

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