The Pleasure Garden if you will indulge me, is like a trip through the wardrobe to Narnia or similarly down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. Stepping through the 100% organic recycled timber framed gates, you are transported into a magical surreal world that makes you question your reality.
With two live stages featuring a lineup of musicians who seem like polar opposites of each other – TPG was always going to guarantee you a good time. Curated by Geordie Barker and Goose McGrath, who have worked on some of the biggest festivals around including Glastonbury and Boomtown, the pair has realised what works in an arts and culture festival and what doesn’t.
Catani Gardens in St Kilda is also the official home of Listen Out Festival which is held earlier in the year. With all your favourite carnival rides including the dodgems and the Eurowheel alongside the best street food that Melbourne has to offer. Walking through the festival precinct with the smell of tacos from Dos Diablos Mobile Cantina to the soundtrack of Tash Sultana and sunshine on my back; they say that paradise is hard to perfect but The Pleasure Garden comes damn close.
Amidst all of the weird and quirky art installations and roving street performers, a troupe of people dressed as fruit walked through the main arena handing out freshly cut fruit to punters. Something that I haven’t seen at a festival before and a memory that will stay with me for a while.
The live music was also another stellar element of this inaugural event and capped off by a highly energetic set by The Cat Empire. Listeners were also treated to the best in both contemporary and dance music courtesy of live band and DJ sets from The Chicken Brothers, Mista Savona and Sovereign Trax.
The main highlight though was Tash Sultana who has had quite possibly the biggest 2016 than any other musician in the scene. With her witty audience interaction and bang on stage show, she showed why she is a talent to watch over the next 12 months.
The Pleasure Garden was a delightful festival full of colour, arts and culture and I’d definitely recommend getting amongst it in 2017, because with such a good time guaranteed, you can leave your worries at the door.
Photographed and reviewed by Tex Miller.