Well, the 2009 Ekka has come to a close and I am still buzzing with a strange kind of delirious energy. The Ekka has that effect on people. I am not sure whether it is the flashing lights, that distinctive voice advertising dagwood dogs and jam donuts (it seems to be on a permanent loop and is able to be heard from almost any point in the grounds), the heady mix of perfume, sweat and dung, the swarms of soap bubbles pumped regularly into the air, or the mile wide smile on almost every face that passes by, but once you are inside the gates, the sticky fingers of excitement take hold and your inner child is bursting at the seams.
Our performances (myself and poetic riff maker Sheish Money), on the International Food Hall Stage were a blast and it was a real thrill seeing faces light up in the audience. In the end, that is one of the things that keeps us going. Performing in front of an appreciative poetry audience is great, but turning just one person on in a crowd of people high on that Ekka buzz takes it all to another level. It was also very cool to be joined by the delightful Hinemoana Baker for our final gig. You can read how much she loved The Ekka from her blog post Ekka-stasy.
As I walked out the gates for the last time, I could not help but feel nostalgic… 2010 will see many changes at The Ekka – the Showbag Pavillion will be gutted, the Douglas Wadley Dog Pavillion will be torn down and the iconic chairlift will no longer decorate the Valley sky. I just hope that this change is well managed and that the spirit of the Ekka remains the same. It is a Brisbane icon, and we can’t afford to lose any more of these.
So as I come down off my Ekka high, here’s a few poems that I wrote for a photographic exhibition that was on display in the Errol Barnes Dining Room. If you were not able to get there this year, I hope that these poems help conjure some of the magic.
All photographs taken by Andrea Higgins for Artisan.