Music festival goes online

Picture: LACHLAN MANLEY

By Jed Lanyon

A free live stream concert series is coming for Yarra Ranges music lovers who are missing the live music scene.

Healesville Music Festival, in partnership with Yarra Ranges Council, will present free-to-watch Winter Taste Test concerts every Sunday at 5pm throughout June and July.

Locals will be able to enjoy live music from some incredible Australian artists performing from their home, straight to yours.

While the Healesville Music Festival is typically held in November, the initiative has been brought about in an attempt to support the live music industry and help keep the festival spirit alive.

Healesville Music Festival committee president Nadine Cloonan said there remains strong hopes that the regular festival will be able to go ahead later this year.

“We are looking into different options for the festival this year, maybe only operating in a limited capacity, which is why we’re using these home sessions to remind locals that we are still here and intend to push on through tough times.”

Many of the performers for the Winter Taste Test series are favourites from festivals past, including: Michael Waugh, Sarah Carroll and Shannon Bourne, Charles Jenkins, The

Weeping Willows, Tuck Shop Ladies, Liam Gerner, Great Aunt and Tim Woodz and the Dirty Shoes.

Sarah Carroll spoke to Star Mail ahead of her virtual concert on 14 June, which she said would mark the first anniversary of playing as a duo with Shannon Bourne.

“It will be a special occasion for us and hopefully for everybody watching on,” she said.

Since the Covid-19 restrictions came into effect, Ms Carroll said she has performed a few similar live streamed performances, but admitted it took some time to adjust to the new format.

“There is this weird disconnect when I have attempted to do these live performances online. I’m getting better at it but there’s no palpable energy in the room from an audience that we’re so used to. It means that we have to perform quite differently, but I feel like I know what I’m doing now.”

Ms Carroll hopes to see more support from the government for artists who are struggling to find an alternative income stream. At the same time, she says that public support has been tremendous.

In addition to their performances, each artist has shared a winter recipe for attendees, who are encouraged to purchase ingredients from local businesses to enjoy the artists’ favourite meal. Ms Carroll will be sharing her mac and cheese recipe.

“It’s always been a family favourite and I have improved it with cauliflower to make it more healthy … It’s easy, it’s substantial and everybody really likes it.

The Winter Taste Test concerts will be live streamed via the Healesville Music Festival Facebook page.

Those who wish to help support the performers, are encouraged to purchase merchandise and donate to Support Act, who are raising funds for the many artists financially devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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