The circus is back in town
Roll up, roll up it’s Karnidale time.
The region’s famous circus festival is back for 2020 this weekend, but its site in Karridale is already a hive of activity.
For the past two weeks, hundreds of kids and aspiring performers from throughout Australia and beyond have been training as part of the Lunar Circus Summer School.
Some students travelled from England, France and even Thailand to access training from some of the world’s top circus acts.
Students receive training from the festival’s 80 performers, who act as tutors during the fortnight.
Each night, when “school” is over, students and their families are treated to a world-class performance from one of their instructors.
Festival director and Lunar Circus founder Matt “Captain Fatso” Yates, a juggling-unicyclist come acrobat-comedian, said the summer school was an awesome lead in to the crazy and colourful Karnidale weekend event, which attracted more than 1500 patrons annually. “The kids just love it,” he said. “One of them has already told me they are going to run off and join the circus.
“She told me she was going to leave school at 14. I asked what she was going to do and she said she was going to come live here at Karnidale.”
Karnidale 2020 will be held from January 17 to 19 and will feature more than 20 shows plus market stalls, musical entertainment and workshops.
This year, in addition to his four big tops, Yates will debut a new venue, The Bus Station.
Using three double-decker buses, which were formerly used as tour buses for Lunar Circus, Yates has created a two storey performance and training space where audience members can view shows from all angles. His Karnidale property also boasts an amphitheatre plus an outdoor performance and training rig.
Yates, who works every day of the year to bring the event together, said the 2020 festival line-up was “out of this world” and an “international spectacular”.
“We have so many award-winning unbelievable shows,” he said.
“We have French contortionists, the world’s best ‘diaboloist’, family shows and late-night adults-only shows for when the kids go to bed and Little Fringe, a place for smaller, experimental shows.
“There will be non-stop entertainment from noon to 1am and for the price of one ticket to a show at Fringe World, you can see 10 shows here that will probably be at a Fringe and have toured Europe.”
Although wowing crowds every year, Yates said the festival still had room to grow and encouraged first-timers to come see what it was all about.
“It is bizarre, there are some locals that have never heard of it and then we have people from Albany, Denmark and Fremantle coming along,” he said.
“We have been here for 13 years and it has been word of mouth.
“We get 250-plus performer applications every year, the community is behind it and the Shire is very supportive.
“I would say come along, you are bound to have fun, be entertained and you may be surprised by what you find out here at Karnidale.”
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