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Creating a musical festival – CresFest

March 14th, 2022Creating a musical festival – CresFest

HOW many people have thought to themselves: “I’ve got a great idea”, “I can do that”, “how hard can it be?”

HOW many people have thought to themselves: “I’ve got a great idea”, “I can do that”, “how hard can it be?”
Ask CresFest convenor Judy Turner for her thoughts on pulling together the inaugural CresFest, which runs from April 1-3, and you might be surprised at some of her responses.
It takes guts, ambition, hours of hard work, an ability to cajole and to beg, to be visionary and creative, to be open to other people’s ideas, to nag and to charm, to be organised and however difficult it may be, maintain a sense of humour.
With a lifetime’s experience of coordinating festivals, fundraisers and cultural events for a broad range of audiences Judy Turner is no stranger to being involved in and putting on musical and theatrical events.
Her love of shared participatory music making and performance for people of all ages began in the 1970s when she performed at folk festivals. Playing a variety of instruments Judy has enjoyed performing and encouraging others to perform ever since.

From left, Neil Adam, Judy Turner and hotelier Brendan Smith – Judy is playing a soprano ukulele which will be raffled at the festival
The exciting line up for CresFest has grown to include 360 performers, including Emma Donovan and The Putbacks, Eric Bogle Trio, The Maes, Lucy Wise, Fiona Ross, Kee’ahn, other musicians of local and international renown, actor Marg Dobson with her investigative show about a Ballarat artist and myriad other performances at the iconic Court House, Town Hall and public spaces. It takes a lot of organisation, from applying for grants, raising funds, booking artists to engaging teams of volunteers.
“I’ve had to have nerves of steel as this really has been a journey through uncharted waters. What’s kept me going is my belief in this amazing Creswick community. People drive through on their way to more well-known towns and villages. Yet stop a while and there is so much to discover here in this exciting, diverse community. Music, visual and performing arts, historic buildings, good food, wonderful walks.
“CresFest will bring it all together over the first three days in April. I certainly haven’t gone on this journey alone. I am lucky to have an excellent committee and volunteers who have supported the concept, the desire and execution of CresFest.”
And yet Judy knows you can stretch friendships when you take on something as big as this. Perhaps referring to her music and life partner, CresFest volunteer co-ordinator Neil Adam.
“From experience I know that sometimes people say yes because it seems like a good idea at the time. Then they realise that although it’s only three days, in the end something like this can ride over you like a Mack truck.”
CresFest is a true celebration of the freedom to express the joy of living through music, the spoken and written word. There will be opportunities for visitors to sing with the Creswick Chorus led by notable musician Stella Savy, move to the rhythm of a Bollywood Dance ensemble with lessons by Indian Australian singer Parvyn Singh or sing at the open mic program. The power of music is global and perhaps this has never been so relevant than at this present time.
Link: www.cresfest.com.au Words & image: Supplied



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