Music festival springs to life online

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Songman Daniel Wilfred.

THE Canberra International Music Festival has been basking in the self-devised title “the best festival we never had”, but now thanks to technology they’re making their cancelled event come alive – at home.

In a move that sees the virtual festival run over precisely the same dates as the cancelled one, from tomorrow (Friday, May 1) and for 10 days, an online festival has been pulled together using video and audio presentation by many of the artists who would have appeared.

Among the performers will be Indigenous fiddler extraordinaire, Eric Avery, Yolgnu songman Daniel Wilfred, didgeridoo player William Barton and American folk singer Sam Amidon.

Guitarist Jesse Flowers will be live-streamed from Berlin on May 6, premiering a commissioned piece by WA composer Olivia Davies, fulfilling the festival’s commitment to commissioning new Australian music.

Roland Peelman. Photo: Anthony Browell.

Artistic director Roland Peelman says, “This is a way we can support artists and give some joy and comfort to our audience in lockdown. In the coming days we will open up blogs, postings, performances, even a premiere, things that will never replace the festival we had in store for you, but, in these straitened times, might just give you a glimpse of the ‘best festival we never had’.”

The Festival website will be updated daily and will include performances and a daily blog by Roland Peelman and others.

To access the festival from tomorrow, visit

The full program of the Virtual Canberra International Music Festival 2020 appears below:

May 1
Welcome to the festival from artistic director Roland Peelman, a performance by William Barton and Veronique Serret and playlists from the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra.
May 2
“Hand to Earth”, developed during an Australian Art Orchestra residency in the remote highlands of Tasmania. Yolgnu songman, Daniel Wilfred, and Korean vocalist, Sunny Kim.
May 3
Countertenor Reginald Mobley performs, followed by a screening of “Contralto”, a one-hour work for video, strings and percussion by Sarah Hennies.
May 4
Tenor Andrew Goodwin performs at Phoenix Central Park.
May 5
Folk music from artists Sam Amidon and Bonniesongs.
May 6
Guitarist Jesse Flowers performs live from Berlin premiering Perth-based composer Olivia Davies’ composition “In Flow”. For those who can’t make the live stream, the video link will be posted on the same day.
May 7
A musical thank you to the festival’s partners for its Taste of Country Festival Trip.
May 8
The Tiwi Women and pianist Edwin (Sungpil) Kim.
May 9
Keiko Shichijo on fortepiano and Jakob Lehmann on violin playing Beethoven, and a performance from new festival artist, rapper, drummer, speaker and workshop facilitator, Dobby.
May 10
Festival artist, Ngiyampaa, Bandjalang and Gumbangirr violinist Eric Avery.

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Helen Musa
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