h

The laneway festival that's bringing rock to the suburbs

“There are so many artists and musicians out here but there’s not really anything aimed at our age group, the 20 to 30-somethings. We wanted to give this group of people a place to hang out where they didn’t have to get on a train for an hour. It seems quite conservative out here.”

Melbourne – a city of fashion, food, music and art. It’s a great place to live, but did you know you could be enjoying all those delicious craft beers and unique musicians in more idyllic surroundings?
 
Out in the ‘burbs, Eltham local café and bar Little Drop Of Poison has cultivated the very first Poisonarts Laneway Festival, an immersive event of food, drink, art and music. By bringing together the local community they aim to promote what’s great about smaller towns and get people out of the city.
 
 “We came up with the idea a few weeks ago,” says café manager Sheena Cuccia. “We and our neighbours have been getting vandalised and broken in to; our building’s getting graffiti, so we wanted to bring a little attention to our side of the neighbourhood.
 
“It’s like a community event central to Eltham, but more so [we’re] bridging the disconnect between the suburbs and the city. There are so many artists and musicians out here but there’s not really anything aimed at our age group, the 20 to 30-somethings. We wanted to give this group of people a place to hang out where they didn’t have to get on a train for an hour. It seems quite conservative out here and we’re wanting to bring some cool shit.”
 
When Cuccia says “cool shit,” she means good live music, street art, craft beer and natural wine. They not only want to encourage punters to get out of the city for a day, but they also want to show the local 20-somethings what they have to offer.
 
“We’ve had a lot of new faces come into Poison, people that have just moved here. It can be a bit of a culture shock to move from the inner city to the suburbs and realising there’s not a whole lot of places you can go for a nice glass of wine or craft beer, so we’re trying to cater to that without people having to go to the city.
 
“It’s nice being around the trees and the suburbs but sometimes you don’t want a mass-produced Sauvignon Blanc for $6, you want something that’s good.”
 
Alongside the tasty delights that Little Drop Of Poison have to offer, they’re also bringing out some choice musos from the city to perform in their quaint little town. “We’ve got The Cigarillos, a two-piece garage blues band who’ve been around for a year or so – nasty, dirty slide guitar. We’re all really excited about bringing Child out here, it’s definitely not any kind of music Eltham has seen live before.”
 
Earlier this year Little Drop Of Poison began offering local artists space in their establishment to promote and display their work. “We started doing gallery nights,” says Cuccia. “We have a great space for artists to hang their work in our space for free. We promote them, they promote us.”
 
Stemming from this idea, the focal point of Poisonarts Laneway will be the live mural, bringing together five local artists with different styles to change the face of the brick wall on Eltham’s main street. These artists in a sense, represent the very essence of the event. “We’ve got one of the only laneways in Eltham,” says Cuccia. “It’s a big massive brick wall right on the main road which has never had any artwork on it – it’s perfect for a mural in the suburbs.
 
“This year bringing this mural on, we wanted to do the same thing. We’re not giving them any direction, we’re giving them full freedom and artistic expression. They’ve all communicated really well, everyone clicked really well. They’re coordinating the colours a little bit but they’re all going to be expressing their own artistic style in the piece that they add to the wall.
 
“The contributors, some are street artists, some work with oil paints, but all of them are local and are facing the same thing – wanting to live in the suburbs but having to go out to the city to have people let them do murals and artwork. This is another step of bringing that Melbourne street art culture out to the suburbs.”

Poisonarts Laneway Festival will take place at Little Drop Of Poison, Eltham on Saturday October 28, with music from Child, The Cigarillos, and more and art from the likes of Stabsie and Swift&CtrlV.