Bleach festival featured 'pop-up' galleries in shipping containers.
Bleach festival featured 'pop-up' galleries in shipping containers. John Gass

Bleach hailed a success

FEEDBACK is flooding in about the inaugural celebration of "all art forms kissed by the ocean, encrusted in salt and bleached by the sun" which finished on the weekend.

Bleach Surfing the Fringe was, what organisers termed, a revolutionary and overdue celebration of the southern Gold Coast's best assets: art, music, film, fashion and the beach.

Southern Gold Coast Chamber president Gail O'Neill gave one example of the impact of the 16 day event had on surrounding business.

She said during one of the first events, Bleach Street in Tomewin St Currumbin, the Wildlife Sanctuary's expected patronage almost doubled.

"They had 1500 people through the doors that day, and expected around 800," Ms O'Neill said.

"They attribute that to Bleach Street."

She also said the Surfer and the Mermaid show and general patronage of the Surf World Gold Coast museum across from the sanctuary was "fabulous". The president agreed the festival was "well overdue".

"I think we have to capitalise on what we do well down here, what we're known for.

"The bikini parade (Sway on Sunset) at Komune, the music: when you get people from the north down here you know you're doing something right."

She said Connecting Southern Gold Coast deserved a "big tick" for spearheading the event.

If anyone is looking for someone to personally congratulate on its success, look to artistic director Louise Bezzina.

She said it was a little early to figure its economic impact but believed it had attracted interest not only from the local arts scene but much wider.

"I've had lots of fantastic feedback - and I'm just really excited about wrapping the whole thing up."

Ms Bezzina said it would definitely occur again in 2013 but was not sure about adding to its line-up which was already "pretty full".

"I think it might be more condensed, to have more of an impact," she said.

"The shipping containers (filled with art) all in one space, for example.

"The highlights for me were the music, Bleach Street was a success and the gallery and visual art was successful.

"And Sway on Sunset was one of my personal highlights."

Bleach's Facebook page kept its 1562 online fans updated on events in advance or as they happened.

Bindi and Clint Hokins commented: "Thanks guys, loved it!"

Pearly Shells said "Great community effort well done to everyone at Bleach thanks we loved it x".

Sami Ayre said it was an "excellent festival, well done to the organisers and volunteers".

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