Written by Caitlin Archbold

Produced for online by Reece D’Alessandro

The increasing number of ‘mini-festivals’ sponsored by property developers and other large businesses are part of the gentrification of Brisbane, according to an event management specialist from the University of Queensland.

Festivals such as this year’s Ice Cream Festival, are attracting controversy.

A line of food trucks… $2 entry… and a promise of a good time.

Mini-festivals are popping up all over Brisbane, attracting swarms of people, ready to spend their cash.

And Fish Lane Festival in South Brisbane over the weekend, was no exception.

But UQ Business School’s senior lecturer Dr Judith Mair, says this trend is part of the changing nature of Brisbane communities.

She says these local events driven towards profit, have a different character from typical community events run for local purposes.

“Although it’s very small and localised, it’s not necessarily organised and run by the local community, for the local community,” she says.

Doctor Mair says the festivals are part of the ongoing gentrification of these communities, which drives up prices.

“It does become too expensive for them to live in that area,” she says.

Griffith University Environmental and Urban Planning lecturer, Natalie Osborne, says the festivals are restricting the type of people and activities accepted in public spaces.

“If you’re there, if you’re using that space, it’s expected that you’re spending money,” she says.

Ms Osborne also says the festivals are co-opting the aesthetic of community, while focusing on making profit.

“Festivals that are organised by people based in the community have this whole different feel about them.”

She is a member of local group Right to the City who advocate for community spaces to be available to everyone, not just those with the ability to pay.

“Inhabitants of Brisbane should all have a democratic say in how our cities are made and produced,” she says.

Right to the City had a number of objections to the Ice Cream Festival held on the controversial West Village site in West End in March.

The site is the former location for the West End markets and Ms Osborne says the festival represented local business being shut out.

Doctor Mair says the gentrification of the city is not always a bad thing, but these mini-festivals represent a changing trend.