The Ideas Festival had it all. From purposefully awkward publicity stunts like mass ballet lessons on Kurilpa Bridge to communal meals with big cheeses Maggie Beer and Rod Quantock. And of course no state-funded festival would be complete without some turgid rehashing by unfocused discussion about sustainable urban growth and political accountability from our liberal arts-educated friends.
Despite the festival being held over a hurried and jam-packed three days, as always, it was a joy to visit the State Library. The pleasure was heightened by the sheer number of rosy-faced student idealists wearing sloganed tee shirts, tight jeans and hair artfully styled into waves as soft as their Raybans are square. In droves they flocked to the lectures and workshops throughout the library – their youthful enthusiasm knows no bounds when it comes to public discussion. For theirs is a strongly held belief that provision of forums, where ordinary people are able to sit at the altar of a public figure with a doctorate in paleoclimatology and listen to anecdotes from this and other such narrowly defined PhDs, is not purely for entertainment on a Saturday afternoon, but will truly redefine community values.
Does this point to a trend in Generation Y having more faith in dialogue-based change rather than crude action-based protest marches of their parents ?
Not all festival-goers though, were young and good-looking. It was also lovely to see kids and even a few older couples who had wisely brought their own alfoil-wrapped sandwiches to eat by the river. Because the café food in and around the cultural centre is heinously overpriced and often not fit for human consumption.
One gripe worth noting about the administration of the Ideas Festival, was the antiquated method of ticketing. In order to enter ticketed events, one had to pre-book online and print a paper ticket to show at the door. Here’s an Idea for next year . . . how about the festival organisers drag themselves out of 2007 and make provision for etickets on iPhones, or inhouse ticket machines to book on the day or even spontaneous ticketless entrants ?
Brisbanites are not luddites, dudes.