CASTLEMAINE is pushing boundaries with its annual 10-day festival, proving that a small town can put on a world-class event.
Festival director Martin Paten said the festival had gone off with a bang, with almost 70 per cent of festival events already sold out and more than 15,000 people expected to visit the town in coming days.
He hoped to “deepen the experience” with this year’s festival, rather than simply enlarging it, and said opening night revealed the true cultural abundance of the town.
“We had 1500 people on the street, sitting at tables sharing a big cultural feast,” he said. “They were singing together and then were up and dancing with the Black Diamonds and the place was spilling over.”
Mr Paten the small-town festival was abundant with surprises.
“Over the weekend, there were people scattered on the grass listening to music, then next door there were shouts from the local cricket pitch – a true mix of arts and sports. You just don’t see that very often,” he said.
“That’s the uniqueness of the festival and there is still so much to look forward to.
“We have performances from across the region, as well as international performers including Water Reflection and Carte Blanche. With so many people flocking to the town, it shows how well loved and supported this festival is.”
Despite almost all tickets selling out, Mr Paten recommended the daily visual arts tour, which includes several exhibitions from 14 local and national artists, as well as a police lock-up and a miner’s cottage.
He said the This is Me short film program was also well worth a visit.
“We have a real focus on youth for this festival and this is quite an extraordinary look into the views of five young people in a very moving and honest portrayal,” Mr Paten said.
For more information and a full program, go to www.castlemainefestival.com.au/2013/