Woodend Winter Arts Festival returns this weekend

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Woodend Winter Arts Festival returns this weekend

Returning for its 15th year running, Woodend Winter Arts Festival is bringing an assortment of artists, performers, thinkers, and audiences to the regional Victorian town for the Queen’s birthday weekend. This year’s program encompasses a range of events, including pottery workshops, art exhibitions, live music performances from both international and Australian artists and talks.

If the arts is what you love the most, The Macedon Ranges potters are back again to display their works across the whole weekend. The exhibition will include a variety of functional, sculptural and wearable art pieces. Moreover, there is an open invitation for anyone to take solace from the cold weather and meet the artists on Saturday afternoon. Another art event running across the weekend is WILD, an exhibition of Visual Art with Vigour. Created by Macedon Ranges Art Trail Members, this collection will display an array of native and exotic wildlife among stormy seas, rugged lands, riotous abstracts, and bold statements.

If music is more your jam, the festival has a healthy number of live music performances scattered across the weekend. For classical fans, Ensemble Gombert and Accademia Arcadia’s choral renditions of Mozart and Haydn’s sacred works at St Ambrose Church on Saturday June 8 will have you in awe. Spanning a wider range of influences, Soprano Cristina Russo and pianist Konrad Olszewski will explore the nature of longing and sorrow with How to Disappear Completely: Songs of Love & Loss. The show will draw upon the works of Alessandro Scarlatti, Luciano Berio, Stefano Landi, Nina Simone, Henry Purcell, Michelangelo, Jeff Buckley and Nick Cave in a bid to answer love and life’s big questions.

Presenting sounds from beyond the Western bubble, Sketches of Mesopotamia by The Alwan Trio highlights the music of the Mesopotamian region on Saturday June 8. The ensemble is made up of a Ney, quartertone accordion, Oud, vocals and percussion. Meanwhile, The Art of the Oud will bring four time ARIA Award-winning Oud player Joseph Tawadros to the stage, melding Arabic jazz with classical music in a stunning showcase of the Middle Eastern instrument on Sunday June 9.


It wouldn’t be the annual Woodend Winter Arts Festival without the literature. The Words and Ideas program includes stalwarts of politics, publishing and media, including George Megalogenis, Gabrielle Chan, Michael Bachelard, Clare Wright, Elizabeth Kleinhenz, Sally Warhaft, Toni Jordan, Robert Hillman, Jan McGuinness, Mark Brandi, Kelly Gardiner, Eliza Henry-Jones, Robert Gott, Angela Savage – and one for the kids – the enormously popular Leigh Hobbs (at the Woodend Library Children’s session). Local authors Dee White and Ann Bolch offer up a range of writers workshops on self-publishing, blogging and plot development, while David and Sara Gormley-O’Brien present a salon-style event, inspired by Roger Sworder’s passion for philosophy and open conversation at the Cravat Club, and the Victoria Hotel will again host to enormously popular Poetry Slam thanks to the Chamber Poets.

That’s just a slice of the diverse program on offer at this year’s Woodend Winter Arts Festival, which will also play host to fireworks, Japanese drummers and an Italian-themed dining experience.


To celebrate the return of the festival, we’re giving one lucky reader the chance to win a Sunday in Woodend! The winner will receive two tickets to see Cristina Russo and Konrad Olszewski in ‘How to Disappear Completely: Songs of Love and Loss’ at 3:30pm, as well as two tickets to see Joseph Tawadros in ‘The Art of the Oud‘ at 7:30pm.

If you win, you could use both, or you could even gift one to a friend. Total value is $170 for both concerts. To enter, email your name, number and code word ‘WOODEND’ to [email protected]


Woodend Winter Arts Festival is running between Friday June 7 and Monday June 10. For more info and tickets, head to the festival website.