Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Friday, May 11, 2007

WHEN THE MAGIC OF MUSIC TRANSFORMS A TOWN - The Mungindi Music Festival, September 28-30, 2007

Spring of 2005 - the magic of music transformed the drought-ravaged town of Mungindi in North West New England into a place overflowing with creative spirit and friendly people.

The little town that most people would drive through staged an extraordinary music festival, attracting such iconic Australian musicians as Don Burrows, Mark Wallton and the trio Brother. Its population of 700 almost tripled over that weekend.

This festival was meant to be a one-of. After its amazing success of this inaugural festival, and despite the relentless drought, Mungindi is staging its second music festival in September.

The 2007 Festival promises to be as unique as the first, with the most significant event being the performance of a specially commissioned work for orchestral performance, narration and song.

To be called Mungindi Mosaic, the work will include orations that reflect the experiences of the Mungindi community. Mr Brian Buggy, OAM, one of Australia’s leading composers and conductors, will be writing the work.

The Sydney Youth Orchestra Philharmonic, local musicians and the local choir will perform the piece, along with all the district’s children, who will form another choir.

One of the unusual aspects to the festival are the performance venues, which include the showground, town halls, wheat paddocks, churches and riverbanks.

The music on offer is as diverse as the venues, with styles appealing to all tastes, with a bit of everything from classical to jazz to funk to choral and rock.

Festival Director Mark Walton said the idea of the festival is to make music more accessible and encourage anyone who’s musically inclined to participate. Its theme is “Community Music Making at its Friendliest”.

Mr Walton said anyone who decides to go the Festival will come away with a new perspective on country towns, as well as a musical experience unlike any other.

The festival’s performers will include:

  • Legendary jazz musician Don Burrows AO MBE who plays flute, clarinet and all the saxophones.
  • Sydney Youth Orchestra Philharmonic, a 65 piece orchestra with some of Australia's most gifted young musicians including best selling flautist Jane Rutter as well as contemporary artists Tex Perkins (The Cruel Sea), Tim Rogers (You am I) and the Sydney songbird Sarah Blasko.
  • Brother blends rock, dance and tribal rhythms in an irresistible charismatic live show.
  • Mark Walton, leading clarinet and saxophone player, the former Chair of Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and now the Musical Director at the Christchurch School of Music in New Zealand.
  • Kevin Hunt, one of Australia’s most highly regarded jazz pianists who has recorded and performed with most of Sydney's prominent jazz artists.
  • David Miller, Chair of Ensemble Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, is is regarded as one of Australia's leading accompanists.
  • Sax From The City, 40 sizzling saxophonists who have all trained at an Australian Conservatorium.
  • Clarinet Calypso, made up of 25 of the finest Conservatorium trained clarinet players in Australia.
  • Loreto Normanhurst and St Leo's Catholic College, two neighbouring Sydney Schools who are combining their very fine Concert Bands into one Super Band.
  • University of the Third Age Choir from Chatswood.

Music workshops will be run in the days prior to the festival and there’ll be Toddlers Proms conducted by the Sydney Youth Orchestra on the Saturday afternoon. Toddlers Proms children aged 2-7 to the instruments, sounds and sections of a full symphony orchestra. Audience members are encouraged to clap, march, sing, and dance along to the music, to play the big bass drum, and some lucky youngsters even get the chance to conduct the whole orchestra!

A number of tours will be offered during the Festival, including working farm & agricultural tours; star gazing tours and fishing tours.


Mungindi has just two small hotel/motels, so a Tent City is established for the festival. There’s also the Mungindi Caravan Park. Call (02) 6753 2213 for details and bookings.

You can hire a high quality tent in Tent City for the four nights of the festival for $300. The tents are complete with floors and lighting and include two fold-up beds with mattresses. Online booking is now available. To view Tent City please follow the link

Moree, 80 minutes drive away, has a good range of hotels, motels and caravan parks. Phone Moree Tourism (02) 6757 3350.


Mungindi is 80 minutes northwest of Moree on the Carnarvon Highway. On a map, it’s easily recognised: it’s the place on the border between Queensland and New South Wales where the “wiggly bit” goes straight. Moree has an airport and railway station. Festival buses will pick up participants from Moree to take them to Mungindi. Shuttle buses will transport patrons between events around Mungindi.

Tickets are available online. The festival web site is off line today. I will add this detail later.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jim, As the information is no longer current and for privacy and spam prevention purposes, please remove the line that starts with "For all enquiries about accommodation please call .." Thanks.

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi and my apologies for the slow response. Deleted.