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Festivals

Fremantle Underwater Film Festival 2019 Official

Dive in to the Fremantle Underwater Film Festival!  You are invited to attend a special evening that showcases the diversity and wonder of our global oceans through a broad variety of short underwater films. The official screenings for the Fremantle Underwater Film Festival (FUFF) will be held in Fremantle, Western Australia. FUFF is also screened annually and regionally around northwest and southwest Western Australia. The Fremantle Underwater Film Festival is a not for profit, independent, grassroots social and environmental movement for positive change for our oceans. It functions as an annual underwater short film festival (containing local content) in both Fremantle and regional venues around Western Australia. 100% of ticket sales go to support marine biodiversity conservation action! ​ ​ ​

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Fenians, Fremantle and Freedom Festival

 As you wander through Fremantle in early January, make sure you listen carefully. You’ll hear the sweet sounds of one of Ireland’s greatest fiddlers, Martin Hayes and the echo back from his musical confidante, American guitarist Dennis Cahill as they capture the essence of traditional Irish music in a contemporary rhythm to uplift your spirits. Focus again and you’ll pick up the enchanting, rich melodious voice of gifted, Irish singer and songwriter Declan O’Rourke. If you know something about the hidden treasure spots of the West End, you might uncover the textured language of one of Ireland’s best loved poets, Tony Curtis.  There’s clearly something significant happening in Fremantle, to draw such fabulous Irish talent here. Indeed, there is! It’s a ten-day Irish cultural immersion, the first of its kind, called Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival, commemorating a journey made 150 years ago by 62 Irish political prisoners – the Fenians. The Fenians were young men, between 19 and 30, who grew up in Ireland in a time of starvation, death and forced evictions - the years of the great famine. Having exhausted all attempts to gain self-government through political means, they decided to fight for independence and they staged a rising. Their plot was uncovered, they were arrested, sentenced for treason, exiled from their homeland and transported to Western Australia.  After spending months in solitary confinement, it was a bitter-sweet relief when they boarded the very last convict ship to Australia, the Hougoumont, where they shared stories, organised concerts, wrote a newspaper called the Wild Goose, and looked out for each other. You might recognise the name Hougoumont, it’s that funky hotel in Bannister Street. There’s clearly something significant happening in Fremantle, to draw such fabulous Irish talent here. Indeed, there is! It’s a ten-day Irish cultural immersion, the first of its kind, called Fenians, Fremantle & Freedom Festival... They also dreamed of escape. The most famous of the Fenians, John Boyle O’Reilly did escape a year later, on an American whaler. He became the editor of a Boston newspaper and together with supporters in the US and Ireland, organised a crowd funding venture to purchase a whaler, the Catalpa, and rescue his mates from the bottom of the world, out of Fremantle Prison. It’s a big story and there’s a big festival to commemorate and celebrate it. As well as the concerts, there’ll be a family day at the Maritime Museum, art exhibitions, Irish film, literature workshops, remarkable stories and of course, the Guinness …plenty of it on tap at the Festival Gardens and Kelp Bar at Kidogo Arthouse. But you won’t be sitting still, there’s music to get your feet tapping and a traditional Irish ceili dance with an Indian Ocean sunset as the backdrop. After 10 days of celebration and commemoration, you’ll have to get in quick to book a table at the primal food extravaganza and street party, the Feast of the Wild Goose, sponsored by Fremantle BID and supported by the Hougoumont Hotel and the Bannister St traders. This 150 year old story of valuing your culture and looking after your friends is the one we still strive for here in Fremantle. Fenians, Fremantle and Freedom Festival | 5-14 January 2018

Fremantle invites you to come to the fire

Fremantle Festival returns this year with a series of events bringing people together in a celebration of community. Immerse yourself in the colour and pageantry of the Blessing of the Fleet, discover the beauty of Australian Indigenous culture at Wardarnji or bring the family down to a blaze on the beach with the return of Kraken. Wardarnji is a dynamic experience of Nyoongar storytelling and dance. For the first time, the City of Fremantle presents Karla-k Koorling, Come to the Fire, inviting audiences to gather around many fires to enjoy intimate performances, including song, spoken word, puppetry and dance. This is a taste of what’s to come, with the Fremantle Festival set to move to the depths of winter in 2019, with a ten-day immersive experience of wild art and hidden treasures. Intimate spaces, port history and cosy corners make Fremantle an ideal place for a winter festival.  This year’s three-day festival format will pave the way for the transition to an expanded ten-day format in winter in 2019.  Now in its 113th year, Fremantle Festival is Australia’s longest running festival and continues to evolve as a celebration of one of the most unique cities in the world and its extraordinary community.  Wardarnji | 26 October, 6.30 pm (gates open 5.30 pm), Fremantle Arts Centre Let the beauty of the oldest songs, dances and language in the world transport you to another place, as fires burn long into the evening and people come together to celebrate Indigenous Australian culture. Wardarnji is a dynamic experience of Nyoongar storytelling and dance. Blessing of the Fleet | 28 October, from 2 pm, procession begins at St Patrick’s Basilica Watch the pageantry and splendour of the Blessing of the Fleet as this annual procession makes its way from St Patrick’s Basilica to Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display at 8 pm. The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities to ensure a safe and bountiful fishing season. First celebrated in WA by an Italian migrant fisherman, the historical port of Fremantle has been the backdrop to the tradition for 70 years. Kraken | 3 November, from 1 pm, Bathers Beach & Arthur Head Kraken is a blaze on Bather’s Beach centered around the Kraken effigy – a sea monster emerging from the sands. Kraken is a free community event that delivers a small taste of the Blazing Swan Festival presented by the Fremantle based Blazing Swan Inc. Each year this not-for-profit organisation produces the regional Burning Man in Kulin, Western Australia. Surrounding Bather’s Beach the Blazing Swan theme camps offer entertainment and food.  You are invited to wander the fires enjoying the elements and the voices of Fremantle. Karla-k Koorling, Come to the Fire | 3 November, from 6 pm, Maritime Tafe Carpark, Fleet Street As the sun sets over the Indian Ocean we will light fires to bring together the people of Fremantle. Between the river and sea we will gather, the fires will light the way, keep us warm and centre our community stories. Each fire will host a performance of song, spoken word, puppetry or dance. You are invited to wander the fires enjoying the elements and the voices of Fremantle. The 2018 Fremantle Festival will run on 26 October, 28 October and 3 November, with a series of free community events. For more information, visit – fremantlefestival.com.au. 


Festivals

Fremantle has a legendary festival and events scene that stretches across the whole spectrum of music, arts, heritage, food and entertainment from the Fremantle International Street Arts Festival to the Fremantle Heritage Festival. Plan your next visit to Fremantle by checking out what’s on in Freo today. And don’t forget to check out our eat and drink listings to find a great spot for dinner or a drink when you’re here.