This year marks the first year of new event ‘Asian Fun Festival’, held this weekend Melbourne’s Meat Market. Cleverly coinciding with the Mid-Autumn festival, the Asian Fun Festival is a celebration of Asian culture with music, performances, market stalls, and food.
Upon entering the venue there was a welcoming fragrant air of fresh durian, lanterns adorned all over the venue with a lovely collection of market stalls, with many staff and patron dressed up in traditional attire.
On stage, there were multiple performances where I witnessed various traditional dances, singing, and a glorious performance by Melbourne taiko drumming ensemble, Wadaiko Rindo. Throughout the weekend performance wise, there is also a traditional attire fashion show, LARPing fight choreography, K-Pop dancing, and Asian hip-hop music.
The market stalls available consisted of traditional costumes, traditional instruments, clothes, art, calligraphy, fashion accessories, trinkets, and food, complete with a neat cotton candy machine. At the back of the venue there are also various perfect photo opportunities with lantern booths, parasol props, including a 360° booth that can help you create the perfect little video to share on social media as you toss cherry blossoms into the air.
Asian Fun Festival really is a celebration of Asian culture, not just Chinese culture, with Japanese taiko drumming on-stage being performed and traditional attire being available to rent for the perfect photo opportunity, including traditional Korean hanboks. So, if you were feeling underdressed and wanted to join in on the fun, there are costumes available for those that came unprepared.
While the event is very good for its first run, my experience is not without constructive criticism. The MCs of the event were only speaking in Chinese which I found quite puzzling. I believe for a multi-cultural event celebrating all forms of Asian culture, the MCs should have been speaking in English. If the event insists on having a Chinese speaker, then why not both? Perhaps next time both one host speaking in English and the other in Chinese? That way the Asian Fun Festival could have the best of both worlds.
The seating is also quite limited. This could have easily benefitted with more seating near the stage so that patrons can relax and appreciate the different performances. I believe that the event also could have had more food available. Considering the event occurring the same time as the Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival celebrations, it was hard to not notice that there was no lion dancing on the program, something I believe is a must. However, I believe all that I’ve mentioned can be improved the next time the Asian Fun Festival is held. Despite my mentioning above, I found the event to otherwise be quite flawless in its execution. Even the stalls created were carefully crafted to give you the experience of going back in time and wandering around colourful markets.
Overall, Asian Fun Festival is a fun, family-friendly cultural experience that is impressive for its first event. I am excited to see how much this clever and respectful promising festival will grow in the not-too-distant future.
Asian Fun Festival is being held at Meat Market in Melbourne from the 10th of September to the 11th of September.
For more information and ticketing, visit:
Photography by Grant Alexander.