‘Easterfest’ goes back to its roots

NEWS | Tess Holgate
Eternity #67 March 2016

A new festival will grace the streets and lanes of inner-city Toowoomba this Easter, following the cancellation of long-running music festival Easterfest last year.

The new festival, Streets & Lanes, “will focus on filling the streets and public spaces of Toowoomba’s CBD with music, art, drama, food and any other creative means to express a ‘Celebration of Life’,” according to the festival website.

The Streets & Lanes festival is a much smaller operation than Easterfest, which by its final iteration had evolved into a large-scale fenced and ticketed event. Conversely, Streets & Lanes aims to return to the idea of a festival as “a gift to the city from churches of Toowoomba.”

At its peak, Easterfest attracted over 15,000 people to Toowoomba, but those numbers had been steadily declining over the last few years. Festival organiser Dave Schenk said that continued adverse weather conditions across the Easter weekend for several years and also a general decline in music festival ticket sales around Australia contributed to poor sales figures for Easterfest and its ultimate cancellation.

When Easterfest folded in 2015, a group of church leaders got together and began to think that they didn’t want to lose the space on the Toowoomba town calendar. Easterfest had been held right in the heart of the city in Queens Park, with tentacles into the city, and they wanted to capitalise on this presence.

A number of churches in Toowoomba are supporting the festival, including Toowoomba City Church, Toowoomba Community Baptist Church and Citilife Christian Outreach Centre, as well as Scripture Union QLD, Red Frogs, and Youth With a Mission.
Dale White, Senior Pastor of HumeRidge Church of Christ (who were strongly involved in Easterfest ever since its inception), said that Easterfest had initially had a much more local flavour, but in recent years had morphed from being a festival for Toowoomba into a festival in Toowoomba.

“We hope Streets & Lanes will be by Toowoomba, for Toowoomba, to bless the city,” said Dale White. Find out more: streetslanes.com.au

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