Not everyone’s feeling the pinch of the recent financial crisis.  This years West-Australian Perth International Arts Festival is set for its biggest line up ever, with a swollen budget of AUD $14 million. In its 57th year, the oldest annual international arts festival in the southern hemisphere announced their program last week. Amongst the highlights is the melancholic voice of blind singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. Former band member of Australian musical icon Yothu Yindi, Gurrumul’s first record was dubbed by the Sydney Morning Herald as the ‘the greatest voice this continent has ever recorded’There are 363 performances, along with the writers festival and visual arts program, but for those who can’t make it to a show, there’s plenty of PIAF action out on the city streets. The Netherlands’ Mobile Sewing Company will be giving the clothing of passers by a theatrical overhaul with their bicycle-powered sewing machines. French street theatre company Royal de Luxe are set to transform the shop windows of Perth’s central business district into a nine day long comic strip saga, using their incredibly detailed mannequins. The kids also have plenty to be excited about, with the world’s only stand up comedian for children, James Campbell ready to take the stage and draw some laughs. Families will also have the chance to see Hayao Miyazake’s Kiki’s Delivery Service on a floating screen over three different waterside locations for the Lotterywest Floating Films event. The festival goes from the 13th February 2009 to the 8th March.

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