The second Food Truck Rumble was held at the Perth Cultural Centre on 12 April 2015. This year, I was one of the official photographers for the event. My assignment was to photograph all the trucks, the pop-up bar and dining areas, and take food pictures too.
I know a great deal of hard work, thought and planning went into this year’s event, and feedback from the first Food Truck Rumble was addressed wherever possible. Last year, there were 17 trucks; this year, there were 29 trucks. The trucks were more spread out, located along Museum Plaza, in the Urban Orchard, the Amphitheatre, Central Square and next to the State Library, and on James Street – making better use of the entire Cultural Centre space. The breakdancing competition attracted massive crowds. There were more dining areas, with shade/shelter, tables and chairs. Rope barriers were used to manage some of the longer queues to help keep walkways clear.
A lot has been said online about the queues and long waits for food. It was pretty reasonable for the first hour or so, but the queues kept growing and didn’t let up. If a food truck can take orders much faster than it can cook and serve them, they’ll quickly bank up, and that was the story for many.
I arrived before the official start time of 11am and had barely snapped my first pictures when a heavy burst of rain fell – I’m sure everyone involved shared the same sinking feeling that the weather might ruin the Rumble. I’d come prepared – a raincoat for me and my trusty plastic bags to protect my cameras. Thankfully, the rest of the day was mainly fine with bright blue skies and very brief, mostly light showers.
In my post about Food Truck Rumble last year I mentioned the rise of food trucks in Perth, and initiatives such as Park’d at Curtin and Perth Food Van (both still going strong) and local council programs to revitalise under-utilised and ‘forgotten’ public spaces, with genuine efforts being made to find ways to allow food trucks to operate without threatening established food businesses. The City of Perth’s Food Truck Trial has been running since 1 February and will finish at the end of May. The City of South Perth’s StrEATS trial has seen a regular gathering of food trucks at approved locations along the South Perth foreshore during summer. Food trucks have been trading at the 140 precinct in Perth city and have been a part of the Twilight Hawkers Market in Forrest Place and various hawker markets in the Perth suburbs. Food trucks are here to stay.
Crowds always make photography a challenge but I think I captured everything on my list well – apart from the food. I didn’t approach any of the food trucks ahead of time to organise food specifically for photographs (perhaps I should’ve), and so I was at the mercy of the queues just like everyone else. I photographed my own food, friends’ food and got permission from a couple of kind strangers to photograph their food, but to be honest, I didn’t really feel comfortable asking most people if I could photograph their food after they’d been waiting an eternity for it. If I get the opportunity to do it again I’ll certainly approach the task differently. I had lessons to learn from the day too.
- Food Truck Rumble 2015 was held on Sunday 12 April, 11am to 8pm at the Perth Cultural Centre, part of this year’s Eat Drink Perth festival.
- Social media was the best way to get latest updates on the event, including on the day itself. Food Truck Rumble organiser Ai-Ling Truong posted this update on Facebook following the event.
- Take the 5-10 minute feedback survey to help improve future Rumbles.
My pictures below show the food trucks from different times of the day, before it got busy and during the more crowded times. You can see an album with more of my pictures at Food Truck Rumble’s Facebook page.