Junction Arts Festival celebrates biggest year yet

MOVING ON: Junction Arts Festival general manager Steve Henty farewells Junction after six years. Picture: Paul Scambler
MOVING ON: Junction Arts Festival general manager Steve Henty farewells Junction after six years. Picture: Paul Scambler

As Junction Arts Festival wraps up with record crowds, general manager Steve Henty farewells the festival after six years.

Close to 9000 people passed through the gates at Prince’s Square during the five-day Junction Arts Festival.

Henty said “it’s our biggest Junction yet”.

“We are putting on something in for this community and the community have spoken with their feet and turned up, supported it and enjoyed it,” he said.

“Junction just highlights the sense of community we already have, it’s an outlet or a platform for people to bring the community together.”

It was Henty’s last festival as he will take over the executive officer role full time at CityProm this month.

Significant changes had been made, particularly in the last two years, including the creation of the central hub at Prince’s Square, Henty said.

It was immensely satisfying to walk around on the last day of the festival, all the shows had sold out and heaps of people were out enjoying the music, he said.

He couldn’t pinpoint his show highlight after six years with the festival.

Instead Henty said his thoughts returned to the team of people bringing their energy and expertise to the festival.

“That’s the feeling I get to walk away with and say ‘what an amazing group of people, what an amazing amount of passion and it’s passion that has driven this festival’.”

While he may be moving out of the general manager role, it was by no means the last time he would go to the festival.

“I am absolutely looking forward to coming to Junction as a punter,” Henty said.

He didn’t want to suggest directions the festival could go in, saying “if it’s similar or something completely different, I’ll be over the moon”.

Evolving was part of the festival and it was a good time for someone else to take it in whatever direction they felt Junction should go in, he said.

As for who would take on the role of general manager, it would the boards decision,” Henty said.

“The senior managers are putting their heads together and thinking about what the next chapter of Junction is.”

As for Henty’s advice to the new general manager: “Sleep more during the festival,” he quipped.

“My advice is to put all your energy into it. This is not a job, this is almost a way of life, don’t be afraid to put all your emotion into it.

“It’s that heart, drive and energy that keeps you going and it gets returned to you in spades.”