In 2010 I co-authored a chamber opera, The Kate Kelly Song Cycle, with composer Ross Carey, and wanted to premiere it beside the lagoon in which Kate’s body was found in 1898. But how could we fund a New Music production in a small country town in inland Australia? Who would possibly take such a crazy idea seriously?
The solution? To build an arts festival around the Song Cycle premiere.
And so began the Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival, our ‘celebration of country creativity and resilience’. Locals had never experienced anything like our first Festival in September 2011! Our second River Arts Festival, on the last weekend of October 2013, was even bigger and better.
I am no longer associated with the River Arts Festival. I learned a great deal from the experience of founding it, including about multidimensional contributions arts festivals can make to small rural communities in these times of great structural and climatic change.
[See my posts on this event: The transformative power of a rural arts festival, and Improbable beginnings: my Chaos Theory about rural arts festivals.]
In coming years I’d like to build this blog into a useful research tool for practitioners across all art forms and genres, and for policy makers, funding bodies, local government officers, scholars and arts advocates in Australia and elsewhere.
I’d welcome your comments and contributions.
Page last updated 12 February 2014. Revised 16 January 2015