Friday, April 12, 2024
18.9 C

The Castlemaine Festival Opens Today

Australia’s flagship regional arts event The Castlemaine State kicks off its 2023 season today!
A wholly unique arts celebration now in its 47th year, The Castlemaine State Festival has become part of the fabric of the historic Goldfields region of Central Victoria and Castlemaine, providing sustenance and support for the local, national and international arts community along with indelible experiences and memories for audiences from across Australia and the globe.
Departing Castlemaine State Festival Director Glyn Roberts is looking forward to making this year’s event a high watermark on the Festival’s storied history and offered that,
“The next 17 days will be ones of true celebration and artistry. The entire region is on show at this year’s festival with so much incredible local talent alongside the very best from around the country and the world. I encourage you all to visit us and immerse yourself in the wonders of Castlemaine and the Castlemaine State Festival. It’s a special place with a special festival.”
Opening night features an exclusive free performance under the big top at Western Reserve Castlemaine by alternative 90’s pop darlings Frente who celebrate the 30th Anniversary of their watershed “Marvin The Album” which captured the nation’s attention with its perfect pop formula. This kicks off a 17-day event that presents a vibrant curation of the very best in contemporary and classical music, visual arts, dance, performance, theatre and thought-provoking dialogues and discourse.
This year’s many contemporary music highlights include famed Australian musical sisters Vika and Linda Bull who for decades have lent their powerful voices to others such as Paul Kelly and John Farnham, but recently they’ve thrived in their own right with a number 1 ARIA album with their career anthology ‘Akilotoa’.
Having been featured in Vogue Australia’s 21 Women of 2021 and The Australian’s 100 Cultural Leaders List 2022, Jaguar Jonze has won acclaim and high profile for her blistering alt-pop debut album Bunny Mode. it reflects the artist’s experiences in the music industry, as well as sexism and racism, and has resulted in a fusing of artistry and advocacy in her dynamic live performances.
Dallas Woods, a Noongar man raised in East Kimberley, is known for his truth bombs and speed-rapping. His track ‘Heaven of My Own’ has had a million streams and counting. Their set will be followed by Electric Fields. People who saw their gigs or early showcase at Big Sounds simply could not stop talking about the astonishing vocals of Zaachariaha Fielding and epic electronica of producer Michael Ross. They’ve been described as “Daft Punk meets Nina Simone in the Deep Forest”.
Classical Music has always figured as a strong focus at The Castlemaine State Festival, this year award-winning British consort singers The Gesualdo Six present an evening of the sacred and sublime showcasing their virtuosic vocals with a nod to the 14th-16th centuries. The evergreen Four Seasons will be performed by renowned violinist Lizzy Welsh leading the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra through Vivaldi’s immortal work. They’ll play the seasons in the order that they run in the Southern Hemisphere, beginning with autumn, sonically exploring what each means to us here in Central Victoria.
TIBETAN NOMAD music is given a contemporary classical twist by Tenzin Choegyal and Katherine Philp, spanning meditative mantras, folk tunes and spoken word. Choegyal plays dranyen (Tibetan lute) and lingbu (bamboo flute) and has an extraordinary vocal ability. His previous collaborators include Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson. With a special appearance by the Resonance String orchestra.
An action-packed performance program at this year’s festival includes the raw intimacy of A Simple Space. The Daily Express awarded the show five stars and called it ‘Cirque du Soleil with a fistful of grit.’ Adelaide-based circus company Gravity & Other Myths has now performed the show across 34 countries, pushing the boundaries of contemporary circus.
Whether you’re a cultural adventurer or dance floor devotee Maloya Moshpit welcomes you to a special mash up of Maloya with house music and dance, street procession and flash gatherings. It’s a 300-year-old performance tradition drawing from Malagasy, African and Tamil cultures, originating from Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Join Australia’s Maloya expert, Muriel Hillion Toulcanon as she leads talented Creole musicians, dancers and singers, tracing a line from slavery, oppression, and censorship, to resilience and recovery.
You’ll be picking glitter out of your smalls for weeks thanks to Briefs Factory, the Australian collective known for their outrageous queer cabaret shows. Dirty Laundry is led by Fez Faanana, aka Shivanana, with a line-up of the most beloved Briefs boys, as well as some shiny new talent, and you can expect a night of exceptional drag and ‘boylesque’ turns, as well as acrobatics and raucous, unapologetic comedy.
Castlemaine State Festival’s beloved Dialogues program returns with thought-provoking discourse from some of the country’s finest thinkers and personalities including The Wonder of Little Things, as Lea McInerney And Ali Cobby Eckermann yarn about Uncle Vince Copley’s memoir. Vince Copley was born on a government mission into poverty in 1936. By the time he was fifteen, five of his family had died. But at a home for Aboriginal boys, he befriended future leaders Charles Perkins, John Moriarty, and Gordon Briscoe. They were friendships that would last a lifetime.
On Matters of The Heart finds three leading literary lights discussing writing stories that confront all matters of the heart. Literary podcaster and reviewer Astrid Edwards will be in conversation with authors Jennifer Down, Kylie Ladd and Ronnie Scott on the art of writing stories that both fill and break the reader’s heart; leaving us contemplating the narrative and characters well beyond the final page.
Another highlight on the Dialogues program is You’re Beautiful, which finds ABC broadcaster Jacinta Parsons discussing her second book, A Question of Age, with journalist Kristine Ziwica. They’ll cover the difficulty many women have in adopting a body-positive attitude and the impact that this can have on their work, social and family life.
Visual arts will be represented in 2023 at the Festival with exhibitions including For the Love of Song: David Frazer with Kelly, Walker, Cave, Lowe and Waits, Castlemaine Art Museum’s beautiful heritage-listed Sinclair Gallery comes alive with a passionate and unique collaboration between a renowned printmaker and local artist David Frazer and some of the most iconic Australian and International songwriters of a generation: Paul Kelly (Aus); Don Walker (Aus); Nick Cave (Aus/UK); Nick Lowe (UK) and Tom Waits (USA).
David Rosetzky: Air to Atmosphere, David Rosetzky is collaborating with members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Central Victoria including: &So, Eden Swan, Terence Jaensch and Rhett D’Costa amongst others; to create a major exhibition at Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM). Flowing from his renowned practice in video and performance, this large collaborative and multi-disciplinary work includes photography, filmmaking, performance, publishing, music, song, and social events created with and about local artists and community members. It will explore the diversity, trauma, resilience, and pride of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Damon Kowarsky, Visual Arts at BUDA. The celebrated artist works across drawing, printmaking and painting. He uses formal craftsmanship and precise art-making techniques to interrogate and interpret architectural exteriors and non-private spaces. Kowarsky is the recipient of numerous awards and is represented in public and private collections in Australia and internationally.
For a full program guide and tickets visit and follow the Festival on Instagram and Facebook for updates.
Castlemaine State Festival runs from March 24 to April 9 in Castlemaine, Victoria.
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -