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Rain doesn’t dampen spirits

Oh, Sleeper singer Micah Kinard performs at Easterfest 2011. Photo by Madison Paige/Collections Imagery
Twenty thousand people including volunteers, organisers and guests were evacuated from Easterfest when Queens Park flooded on Easter Saturday evening. The evacuation followed after the main tent partially collapsed during a torrential downfall.

Easterfest CEO Isaac Moody said he is appreciative of the “amazing crew and volunteers” during this unexpected event.

“These situations are never easy. It was pouring rain and people got very wet but they were safe and we are very thankful for people’s graciousness as we had to evacuate them in the pouring rain,” he said. “From a Christian perspective I think we understand that all things work together for the greater good and good things come from difficult situations.

“We were able to move the festival into the city centre in a way that had never been done before.”

There were 28 different welfare centres, church halls and places in the community where campers could take refuge for the night. There has been minor criticism for organisers not announcing the main tent collapse during the headlining concert at the main outdoor stage. While this decision may have avoided unnecessary panic, it meant that people at the main stage were unaware of the event or the possibility of evacuating tents or leaving the site.

Andrew Morcom from Kawana Waters Uniting Church said that didn’t bother him or his family.

“Apart from getting wet feet it really wasn’t that bad where we were. My eldest daughter and her friends had a fantastic time dancing in the rain and she said that it was probably the best concert she had been to”.

Easterfest chaplaincy coordinator and member of St Marks Uniting Church, Mount Gravatt, Leanne Hutton, said the ferocity of the rain during the evacuation was unsettling but the regular updates, music and prayers contributed to the relatively calm atmosphere.

“For me it was one of those times when I absolutely knew I was in the right place with the right people at the right time.

“The chaplaincy team approach we adopted this year was well prepared and we were able to assist and fill gaps in many areas we never discussed in our initial planning.”

Ms Hutton has been greatly encouraged by the positive attitude displayed by the young people with many declaring that it was the best Easterfest ever.

Mr Moody said Easterfest will be held at Queens Park in 2012, however improvements will be made to the venue.

“There is a record interest in next year’s festival,” he said. “It’s quite genuinely going to be much bigger than this year’s festival as a result of the flood.”

Photo : Oh, Sleeper singer Micah Kinard performs at Easterfest 2011. Photo by Madison Paige/Collections Imagery