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Braddon’s biggest block party

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The Braddon Block Party is set to become one of the coolest events on the 2016 calendar.

One of my most cherished travel memories is of a block party.

One night in the heart of Barcelona, my friends and I stumbled into a criss cross of streets packed with locals of all ages. Lights were strung up above us for streets in every direction, art installations patterned the walls and alleyways and music thumped through the crowds. Locals stood on balconies high above the party, showering us with glitter and bubbles and people sold cocktails from their lounge room windows.

It turns out we had stumbled upon Festa Major de Gràcia, Barcelona’s most well known block party. It was a proud, inclusive and incredibly festive way to celebrate community and I loved every second of it.

This is the type of vibe Damien Maher wants to achieve when Braddon launches it’s very first block party on Saturday 29 October.

Damien is the director of Newscast Studios Braddon as well as a Braddon Block Party organiser and says that “Braddon is currently everything cool in Canberra.”

“Braddon is a collection of businesses that have just popped up on the street – it’s very organic. That ‘Braddon Trader’ vibe is leading the way in Canberra at the moment and we wanted to celebrate that,” explains Damien.

Lonsdale Street will be host to a number of events on the day that will include Traders Pop Ups, Markets, street races and a Float Parade culminating in a street party into the night, as well as a number of other unique events which promote Braddon’s culture – which sounds like a lot of fun. 

Damien stresses that the event will celebrate Canberra’s creative and bar scene but also be family friendly so no residents are left out. The event starts at 10am in the morning and will finish promptly at 10pm but no doubt the bars and restaurants of Braddon will take it upon themselves to continue the party.

Braddon Block Party poster

“I was looking at all these great street parties that happen around the world and thought that it’s time to have one on Lonsdale Street,” says Damien. “It was a collective idea – I approached some developers and business owners like Nik Bulum and they had already had some of the same thoughts.”

Aside from Damien and Nik, the team behind the Braddon Block Party includes owner of Eighty/Twenty Food Klarissa Cengic, manager of Bent Spoke Brewing Dan Watters,  Glen Dowse of Dowse, Norwood and Associates Architects and Hamish Lardi of In The City Canberra. 

The team decided late October would be the perfect time to have the party as it’s when Canberra comes out of its winter hibernation and Braddon businesses become reinvigorated.

“Those beautiful first warm days at the end of October are perfect,” explains Damien, “so I wrote to the Chief Minister and said ‘mate, let us have a party!'”

Through assistance from the Chief Minister, Damien and his team were able to work with the Access Canberra Events Approvals Team to make sure all the boxes were ticked and regulations respected when it came to the physical creation of the party.

Damien says he hopes roads will be closed off at the top and bottom of Lonsdale Street as well as Elouera Street on either side so the party can sprawl across a significant part of Braddon. 

“It’s not just about Lonsdale Street, it’s about the whole of Braddon,” says Damien. “Because of this we want to make sure all the Lonsdale Street residents and businesses are happy with the project.”

To make sure the whole community on board and excited for the block party, there will be an open ‘Town Hall’ style meeting  as part of the consultative process, on Monday 6 June at 5pm at The Hamlet. Residents have been notified and some excited residents have even uploaded the flyer to Facebook, prompting a huge amount of interest and “hundreds of likes” already, which Damien says is a testament of how much Braddon wants this street party. 

The meeting will be open to all businesses and residents of Braddon to provide insights and suggestions about the Block party.  Those who can’t attend will be offered an “interactive video experience” to make sure everyone is able to have their say and make suggestions as to how the event should be run. 

Working with funding from Canberra CBD Limited, Damien says they’re hoping to have support from businesses in the form of sponsorship to keep the event independent. Businesses who are interested in becoming sponsors or media partners are encouraged to attend the consultation on Monday 6 June.

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