Lo/Jo Jive Festival reminds us to dream big and look for fun in our local neighbourhoods

“What makes Melbourne so great is that you’ve got musicians coming from here, there, everywhere, genres you’ve never heard of, things that are currently being made up.”

The Lo/Jo Jive Festival comes after five years of thinking and 18 months of planning. Jessica Robinett, the mastermind behind the festival, got encouragement from friends to work on the idea, and met with them weekly to develop and plan.

“The idea started about five years ago, just after I had my second son,” she says. “I was on maternity leave and I was bored. I’ve always been creative and had some sort of creative outlet, and after six to seven months on maternity leave I was playing around with this idea of doing a market festival. When I felt confident enough to start introducing my concept and my proposal, I first introduced it to my friends and we started working every Sunday on the ideas we had. It all took off from there.”

The festival’s inaugural year also marks Robinett’s first time putting on an event of this size and scale. It surely won’t be the last as Robinett has plans for this tour to run yearly before making things even bigger.

 “We’ve got some serious big steps, but let’s get through the first three years that I want to do in Collingwood, then it’d be good to see how it’ll go and apply it in different neighbourhoods and do a bit of a street party somewhere.”

She based the idea of having a music festival and market running together on the area in San Diego she grew up in as a child. Also, after being to other larger-scale music festivals, she didn’t like her experiences and wanted to make things more “intimate and personal”.

Another goal of Robinett’s was to feature as much local talent as possible and support the local scene and community. All of the bands playing on the day are from Melbourne, along with all of the vendors. “What makes Melbourne so great is that you’ve got musicians coming from here, there, everywhere, genres you’ve never heard of, things that are currently being made up,” she says. “I wanted a market that featured local stuff as well and it was all about giving back to the community, so we gave local vendors and local businesses a platform to be able to sell their goods.”

But what does the festival actually include? With three different venues and a market, there’s something there for everyone. The Bendigo Hotel will host a range of DJs and local rock bands. Robinett says, “You’ve got proto-punk, blues, psychedelic and rock’n’roll.”

Furthermore, down the road is FeeFees Bar, who are putting on an acoustic set that day and will be utilising their newly acquired late liquor licence. At the Tote, there are more DJs playing and also funk and soul bands. However, as Robinett mentions, it doesn’t end there. “Go for a walk a bit more and then you’re in Collingwood’s Art Precinct and I’ve partnered with the Fitzroy Market,” she says. “Then we’re doing children’s theatre and children’s yoga in the Spiegeltent and face painting. So it’s all happening.”

The market will have over 70 stalls offering everything from vintage clothing and vinyl to food (including vegan options) as well as artwork and jewellery.

Robinett says that on the day, festival goers can look forward to good vibes with the whole goal of the festival being to get people to come, have a good time and enjoy their local neighbourhood. “There’s plenty to do,” Robinett says. “If music’s not your thing, head down to the market. If the market’s not your thing, head down to FeeFees. If you are into music, we’ve got you covered. There’s a little bit there for everyone to come down and enjoy your local neighbourhood, you don’t have to travel far for it, you’ve got something in your backyard, come and enjoy it.”

The Lo/Jo Jive Festival and Market will take place on Saturday February 10 at The Tote, The Bendigo Hotel, FeeFees Bar and the Collingwood Art Precinct.