15 years of the Woodend Winter Arts Festival

By Irene O’Duffy

Pianist Piers Lane, Viennese quartet Concilium Musicum and oud player Joseph Tawadros are among the performers featuring at this year’s Woodend Winter Arts Festival – now in its 15th year on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend 7-10 June. With at least 40 events over the long weekend, it’s an unmissable opportunity with experiences that you won’t easily find elsewhere.  “We believe we have a magical recipe for success,” says Dr Jacqueline Ogeil, Artistic Director and founder of the festival. “We showcase international performers and design programs that are exclusive to the Festival. We have a dedicated team, devoted volunteers and a local community who have embraced the festival for the array of artistic endeavours that we bring to the Macedon Ranges every year.”

A special solo piano recital with Australian pianist Piers Lane from London is not to be missed. Other international and national performers include violinist Davide Monti from Italy, Concilium Musicum from Vienna, oud player Joseph Tawadros and Simon Tedeschi from Sydney who will perform with the Sydney Symphony’s principal violinist Andrew Havaron. You could even experience a Tango concert preceded by a Tango dance lesson!

Special salon sessions will be introduced this year allowing the chance to get up close and personal with speakers on a variety of topics covering literature, writing, the arts, philosophy and politics. The ever-popular panel events and art exhibitions complete the program.  For the past decade, the Opening Night Fireworks has provided family friendly fun, with opportunities for local community organisations to sell food or refreshments and raise funds. The event attracts a huge crowd of local and regional families. This year, Japanese drummers Wadaiko Rindo from Melbourne will bring their dramatic taiko performance, creating a soundscape before the fireworks display.

In January, Artistic Director Jacky was awarded the 2019 Arts Ambassador Award for the Macedon Ranges Shire Council as part of the local Australia Day awards, while recently the Festival was awarded two Macedon Ranges Business Excellence Awards for Tourism and for Non-Profits. “These awards acknowledge the hard work of putting on events in a small community and the fact that the Festival brings tourism income and visitation to our town in a traditionally quiet time of the year,” says Jacky.

Tickets for Woodend Winter Arts Festival 2019 go on sale on Tuesday 2nd April. This year’s festival runs from Friday 7th to Monday 10th June.  www.woodendwinterartsfestival.org.au