Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Rivafest Zombies Not Right for Kids

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Rivafest Zombies Not Right for Kids

Article excerpt

CONGRATULATIONS to the Ballina Council on a fantastic day at Rivafest.

But I would suggest that when booking acts next year they show more understanding of what is appropriate for children's entertainment.

Having worked in that sphere for the past 20 years I was horrified at the show that was staged in the designated children's zone at 5.30pm, while young children, including my own three-year-old, were still around.

It was performed by a Lismore drama group, whose work I have seen in the past and who are excellent at acrobatic work, fire twirling, etc.

So I was quite keen to see their Rivafest performance.

Unfortunately, they were made up like zombies and in the first few moments a performer ripped the head off a toy doll and licked its neck.

Later, older boys restrained a younger boy while he drank from a cup containing fake blood, which ran down his face.

This might be deemed harmless for older children, although I know some older children there who were quite distressed by it, but it is totally unacceptable for the younger set.

Normally parents have the chance to censor what their children watch.

However, this act was staged in a public place in an area designated for child-friendly performances, which this was clearly not.

I mentioned this to an organiser afterwards, as I was not the only parent who ushered their young child away to avoid nightmares, and they seemed equally concerned that this had happened.

I found out later that an announcement was made before the second performance explaining that only fake blood was used by the actors.

Does this mean we only have to worry when they start using real blood!

This complaint is not directed at the performers. They do a great job.

It was just a bad judgment call to have them performing such an act in an area set aside for children of all ages.

I believe in future the council should have the foresight to check out what type of entertainment is being planned when booking acts for the children's area. …

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