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How to Fill Your Soul with Music, Art and Literature this Winter

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With mists swirling through the ranges, the smell of wood fires permeating the air, and a programme brimming with music, words and art, you can’t help but imagine you’re in Europe.

In fact, the experience of intimate French village festivals was the inspiration behind the immensely popular Woodend Winter Arts Festival.

Now in its 15th year, the festival is designed around a long weekend of music, poetry, art and literature. Held on 7-10 June, it brings together acclaimed Australian and international talent in a world class showcase of vibrant, traditional and thought-provoking performances and events.

The delicious connection to soul lifting music, words and art, combined with the sights, sounds and tastes of Woodend in winter, may explain why people return year after year to this cultural event in the country.

Listen to opera. Learn how to dance the tango. Find out how to self-publish your written words. Fill your heart with harp music. Join in the fun of a poetry slam. It’s time to pay a visit to the Woodend Winter Arts Festival.


Masterpieces Not to Miss

Imagine sitting in a country hall listening to the sacred works of Mozart and Haydn.

One of the most popular events in the festival program for the last fifteen years, Mozart’s Dominica vespers were written for general use on Sundays at Salzburg Cathedral and Haydn’s Theresa Mass for the Esterházy court. These are two wonderfully uplifting masterpieces you simply can’t miss.

International Artists Performing at the Festival

This year expect sublime concerts showcasing international guests including:

Piers Lane:[SOLD OUT] London-based pianist, Piers Lane stands out as an engaging and highly versatile performer, at home equally in solo, chamber and concerto repertoire.

Concilium Musicum: (Vienna) “The ensemble Concilium musicum Wien was founded in 1982 by Paul and Christoph Angerer with the aim to perform music of the 18th century in the manner in which it was performed in its time. Over the course of its existence the ensemble’s repertoire has expanded in scope and range, reaching from baroque music to dance music of the 19th century. Rare manuscripts from the archives are made to resound again: works by neglected, and in some cases forgotten composers are performed again and not so well-known works by great classical masters are brought back to light”. Extract from Montsalvat.

Davide Monti: The Italian maestro of improvisation, violinist Davide Monti will be performing in a supper concert, where his humour will no doubt be front and centre.

Australian Artists Performing at the Festival

Performing alongside international artists are Australian greats including Simon Tedeschi and Marshall McGuire, and four times ARIA Award-winning Oud player, Joseph Tawadros, presenting his Concerto for Oud.

More Than Music

The Woodend Winter Arts Festival includes political debate with distinguished commentators, award-winning authors such as Robert Hillman and Toni Jordan, philosophy and a poetry slam. You can also visit art exhibitions showcasing hundreds of local artists.

Visit the Woodend Winter Arts Festival website for a full program of events.

Getting Around the Festival

As Woodend is a compact little village, all the venues are within walking distance. Simply park your car, rug up in your warm winter woollies and wander between the events.

Festival Finale Dinner and Opera

Don’t miss Una Festa Italiana, an Italian-inspired finale dinner and supper at The Victoria Hotel.  Sip local Mount Towrong wine, dine on Italian food by a cracking fire, and listen to opera performed by Cleo Lee-McGowan (soprano), Shakira Dugan (mezzo soprano), Christopher Watson (tenor) and Stephen Marsh (baritone).

Where to Eat During the Festival

The Milko, Paysanne, the Victoria Hotel, Fox in the Chamber and Cravat Club are some of the fantastic cafes, pubs, restaurants and bars open over the long weekend.

Click here for a full list of places to eat in and around Woodend.

The Victoria Hotel Woodend

Where to Stay During the Festival

There are a number of options in and around Woodend to stay. A few recommendations include Braeside Mt Macedon Country Retreat, Macedon Ranges Hotel & Spa, Rooks Edge and the Cottage at Bolobek. Wherever you choose, there’ll be roaring fires, local produce and a full bodied red or two on offer. Click here for an overview of places to stay in the Macedon Ranges or call the Visitor Information Centres (open 7 days from 9-5pm) on 1800 244 711.

Buy Tickets to the Woodend Winter Arts Festival

There are still tickets to shows and events, so don’t delay. Click here for the full program and tickets to this wonderful arts and cultural event in the heart of Macedon Ranges.


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