Bonfire finale for Festival of the Face

THE Festival of the Face ended not so much with a bang but with a blaze as BigFace went up in flames at a family bonfire night on Saturday.

Under a clear sky, hundreds of people went to the Old Bega Racecourse where they enjoyed live music and, of course, a huge mid-winter bonfire.

BigFace was the bonfire centrepiece, a sculpture incorporating bamboo, straw, grass tree fronds and foliage made by Tulgeen Riverside Nursery’s employees and staff.

The face sat atop a base of pallets arranged in a spiral by Tanja artist Chris Polglase. 

Mal Barnes from the organising committee was pleased with how the night went off. 

“I think the old racecourse is a good venue for something like this and really underused, so to see people there enjoying themselves was excellent.

“It was a good night all round. 

“There were lots of families and it was also great to see everyone from Tulgeen who worked so hard on BigFace come down and see the bonfire,” he said.

Mr Barnes said people enjoyed the entertainment, which included Magpie Music students, a few songs from The Blue Ruins and a longer set from local band Ken Oath and the Profaners. 

Fellow organiser Gordon Beattie said the rock set of the Profaners was a perfect backdrop to the bonfire. 

“We had some really over the top dramatic recorded music as Chris Polglase did the honours and lit the sculpture up – some Flight of the Valkyries I believe – but after that the band really added some atmosphere as the bonfire raged.

“Lots of people got up and had a dance,” he said. 

Mr Beattie said it was a bit touch and go regarding the bonfire. 

“There’s been some huge winds all week and it was still blowy on Friday, so we had to leave the decision to light the sculpture to the Rural Fire Service.

“The Jellat RFS were great, they had their anemometer to measure wind speed and it was 15kmh so we could go ahead.

“It was a real family event, and I’d like to see more like it,” he said. 

Mr Barnes said as an inaugural event, Festival of the Face went well. 

“It’s got a lot of potential and I hope we can get more people involved in this.

“There was momentum by the end and the bonfire attracted a lot of interest.

“If anyone in the community has any ideas for the next one, I’d encourage them to contact us because we really want to see this grow,” Mr Barnes. 


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