The Castlemaine State Festival is held every two years. We'd previously not given it a lot of thought, but at the festival two years ago we went to a few events, and they were uniformly excellent. So this year we studied the program intently, and booked tickets to a lot of things when they were released in December.
We had thought we'd take that week off work, but found that we hadn't booked anything for the Thursday and Friday - so we went to work those days. But we did take the Friday when it started off, off work, so we could see the opening events.
We drove over to visit Alison's mum Elsy on the Friday morning. She's not too far away, but the drive there and back took ages. We haven't had to drive in Melbourne weekday traffic for some years, and in that time it has got much worse; frequently it would take three changes of traffic lights before we got through.
The traffic was one of the reasons we moved up to Castlemaine in the first place; and so, up there we went. We were able to see a snippet of the opening ceremony before we went to our first event, a concert by violinist Ye-Eun Choi (with piano accompanying); and came out to find a band playing in the illuminated veranda of the Imperial Hotel. A really nice varied night.
And so it continued. Our house is 1.3km from the middle of town, and we got a lot of walking there and back; 3 times on the Saturday, twice on Sunday.....
To see a huge variety of performances; lots of music, but also circus, film, cabaret, dance; and at the same time a lot of art and "fringe" events. How the festival gets some of its acts I do not know; some of the well-known international performers are appearing only here, in Victoria. Not in Melbourne at all!
The last day saw the usual party in the Botanic Gardens, at which Corker Orchestra played a short segment - with me using my new blue violin.
And now, it's over. For us, as for many others, it was a very busy 10 days, and in some ways it is good to be back to our normal quieter life. But I shall very much be looking forward to State Festival 2021!