No one could say that they have truly visited Melbourne if they haven’t been to the Moomba parade. Admittedly, I’ve attended the water skiing events and even the birdman rally in the previous years. But this year, I had to cap off the Moomba festivities by covering the Moomba Parade.
There were plenty of roving performers along the way including on the parade route. A massive hat tip to these people especially as it was a sweltering 35 degree celcius day. It was still great to see so many people and families coming out to support the parade it, added to the atmosphere. Especially when the performers interacted with the younger kids, the spirited high five seemed not only to bring a smile to the performer and young child but to all the people around them.
The parade began with the traditional aboriginal welcome from the Wurunjundi people, the traditional owners of the land. Their tribe is known for the birds and the local gum leaves. They encouraged everyone to grab gum leaves from the surrounding trees to join in their welcoming ritual. What was especially wonderful to see were the young children taking part as it’s vital to pass on your culture from one generation to the next.
Then the parade began with the Moomba dancers and first of the roving bands. The parade this year was broken up into the following sections:
The parade always starts of with the Moomba KING and QUEEN. This year it was dedicated to our emergency response teams: Ambulance, Fire, Police, State Emergency Services & the Salvation Army. The last year, the state of Victoria has seen a few disasters strike and our community would not be able to survive without the valuable services that these people provide. Even the K9 unit got in on the action!
The parade paid tribute to the Circus Capital of Australia! Melbourne plays host to Circus Oz and National Institute of Circus Arts. Their float was amazing with a 3D elephant and performers showing off their acrobatic strength and control! They even had a strongman perform, well a circus strongman not a real one. I doubt their small float would be able to take a 1000 kgs weight (and the elephant). The younger circus performers were a massive hit. Every time they pulled off a pose, the crowd went ecstatic with cheer!
Then the parade celebrated the authors and readers of Melbourne, creating a 3D interpretation of the latest Andy Griffith’s novel “The 26-Storey Treehouse”. Then was the cross-section of the readers in Melbourne, starting from the younger kids with their book outfits, to school kids with their text books to eventually the older people in the libraries! The librarians outfits were a riot!
The Chilean dancers were amazing with their Flamenco and high energy dance moves! The highly energetic dancer leading the troupe and the man in the devil outfit had to be admired. They kept their energy up for the entire parade! Then came the Indian dancers with the colours and various instruments. Helen Richey broke up this section. She looked impeccable as always. Then the Macedonian dancers showcased their moves, followed with the Lindy Hop dancers with their own band which belted out a fantastic tune. I couldn’t help but tap along! They were followed by the Indonesian dancers and some of their outfits looked regal and quite heavy for the weather. There were some performers dressed in 80’s workout gear with trampolines for legs and they really engaged the crowd with their varied poses, high fiving the kids and posing with (or read as photo bombing) people.
The music section started with a conductor leading a motley crew of violin, saxophone, drum and xylophone. The marching band with the pink tees named most of the famous bands from the 80s to now. Following them were another group of dancers. But after them was a seven-piece reggae band names Jaspora on the back of a flatbed truck. Just wow. Whoever put the line up together really thought about the flow of the parade and how the different musical styles go together. Just fantastic! And the final part of the music section was topped off by the Melbourne Gospel choir belting out some of the old favourites including Joyful Joyful!
The art would not have been the same without Michael Leunig’s impressive cartoon caricature that he draws for The Age newspaper. The yellow art work, which I must confess, I cannot remember was well put together by the performing arts dancers. Then came the PNG performers that really put a different step altogether.
The huge “Where The Wild Things Are” float based on the Australian movie made in 2009 was magical indeed. Even the child, the main character, looked like his movie counterpart! The section ended with a celebration of the various roles that make up the industry – from actors, to producers, stage crew and the backup dancers.
The people behind the parade wanted to raise the question, what would happen if they found an iPod in King Tutankhamen’s tomb? What would that look like? Well, I for one, would be interested to attend their parties if those dancers were going to be there! Nicky Buckley and her three sons followed the Egyptian float. And this time, the ending was used as a seqgue into the next scene with broadway dancers leading the way along with the musings of “The Itchy Feet Pep Band”.
They had children moving around this big rubber ball. The purpose of which I couldn’t then nor can I now, work out. They were then followed by the Melbourne Ladies College marching band and the main cast members of the current musical, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with the giant car prop from the musical being on display! The Victorian junior marching police band followed and it was good to see their skill match some of the more senior performers in the parade! And the finale concluded with a tribute to the Arts Centre spier that can be seen in Melbourne’s skyline.
10. The City & Its people
The Parade ended with the cosmopolitan view of all the people that make up Melbourne. From the jogging enthusiasts to the fitness fanatics, to the mothers with their prams, the school children and the business men in suits, they were all there to represent Melbourne. The marching band playing “We built this city on rock and roll” was a massive hit amongst the entire crowd with sections singing along as they moved along the line!
All in all, it was a fantastic day and one that I definitely recommend anyone that visits Melbourne on Labour day, attend. Stay for the waterskiing event too. You won’t be disappointed!
P.S. Photos will be coming shortly!
P.P.S. I lied. It only took me 6 months to get this done.