Local and visiting music lovers will converge on Port Fairy from Friday for the annual Port Fairy Spring Music Festival.
It is the 29th festival and the theme of the three-day event is dance and music that responds to dance in various ways.
It is the third and final festival for artistic director Iain Grandage, who has been named the director of the Perth Festival from 2020.
Mr Grandage said some of the Port Fairy shows had sold out and the response to the festival and its “extraordinary growth” was pleasing.
He said there was something for everyone in the program. “We can guarantee that the music is going to be very high quality. It’s in all sorts of genres. There’s folk and world music and jazz, classical and in all the genres they’re the very finest artists.”
When devising the program Mr Grandage said he wanted to provide music which was “energetic and a relief from the politics of today”.
“The opening and closing events are very much about problematic issues in the world, being the Middle East with Lior’s Compassion and indigenous reconciliation with Deborah Cheetham’s piece. Those two are reminders of our place in the world, but the rest of the program is filled with joyful and euphoric and affirmative music that responds to dancing and hopefully makes you want to dance.
“It‘s that idea that we all want some relief from various bits in the world.”
He said the event opened on Friday with festival favourite Lior singing a piece he wrote using Islamic and Hebrew texts. “It’s called Compassion. It was originally an orchestral piece and now it’s a chamber music piece. Given how divisive politics is these days it’s important to open with a statement like that. We’re all in this together and he reminds us of that message.”
He said also on Friday night Australian actor John Bell would perform a recited poem with piano accompaniment with one of Australia’s finest pianist Simon Tedeschi. Other highlights include Megan Washington, fresh from triumphant gigs with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and an energetic performance by internationally-acclaimed cellist Catherine Jones and Baroque guitarist William Carter. They join members of Van Diemen’s Band – an exciting new Tasmanian chamber ensemble under the artistic direction of Julia Fredersdorff.
He said people associated Port Fairy with the folk festival. “We’re very grateful for our older and larger sibling in the way it breeds familiarity and wonderful associations. Everyone knows and loves the folk festival and the spring festival does benefit greatly from that festival.”