Castlemaine State Festival returns in 2021

CSF21-One-Fell-Swoop-By-A-Thread-photo-by-Aaron-Walker-PhotographyThe Castlemaine State Festival will take place in the creative capital of central Victoria from 19 March to 4 April 2021, returning with a bright and colourful program of visual arts, performance, music, talks, workshops and a variety of outdoor performances shining a light on the diversity and culture of the region.

The Festival will open on Friday 19 March with a free event featuring Ajak Kwai and the Bendigo South Sudanese Women’s Ensemble. The Festival is filled with special events for all ages and curious minds including the awe-inspiring One Sky Many Stories featuring Indigenous storytelling of our wonderous night skies.

Hear Here the pop up radio station at the iconic swimming hole ‘The Res’; INSIDE OUT Castlemaine – a series of large-scale portraits pasted up around town; and Kultur-All Makaana home away from home, located at the newly opened Castlemaine Goods Shed.

Experience classical through to contemporary in the Festival’s vibrant music program with a star line-up including soprano Cathy-Di Zhang, Josh Teskey & Ash Grunwald, Jess Hitchcock, David Bridie, Liz Stringer, Lior, Allara, Teeny Tiny Stevies, The Maes, Richard Narroway, and Josh Cohen performing Radiohead for Solo Piano.

The music will ring through the many performance spaces with a variety of Victoria’s best ensembles coming to Castlemaine including the Melbourne Mandolin Orchestra, Omega Ensemble, Australian National Academy of Music, Goldner String Quartet, and Inventi Ensemble. The Marala Trio will broadcast their binaural concert all the way from Spain.

The Festival’s thought-provoking Dialogues program returns with Helen Garner, Don Watson, chefs Rosa Mitchell & Carlo Grossi, Michael Rowland, Gareth Evans, Reverend Tim Costello, Archie Roach and Dan Kelly and more make an appearance to discuss contemporary topics covering themes of environment, history, climate change, and society.

Performers will pack a punch in a theatrical program drawing from Castlemaine’s globally renowned arts scene with the debut live reading of local Wamba Wamba man Brodie Murray’s Soul of Possum and new play Finding Fanny Finch will transport audiences to the goldfields of the region based on the research of local historian Kacey Sinclair.

Families will be entertained when Melbourne’s contemporary circus troop One Fell Swoop come to town and be gobsmacked with Otto & Astrid as they Play the Greatest Rock Concert You’ve Ever Seen. Audiences are warned to dress in their best for YUMMY Unleashed which blends drag, burlesque, costumes and choreography with funny and surreal performances.

The visual arts program will range from a celebration of 1960s pop cultural fashion icon Mary Quant at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Melinda Harper’s first major survey in regional Victoria at the Castlemaine Art Museum, to local artist Cameron Robbins collaborating with prestigious winemaker Gilles Lapalus. Visitors to Castlemaine and Bendigo are encouraged to create their own art trail, exploring the local galleries and art spaces.

Festival Director Glyn Roberts said he was looking forward to welcoming the local community and newcomers to the region in this fresh new Festival.

“This is a Festival for everyone, with a program filled with heart and soul that will stir imaginations and create memories,” said Mr Roberts. “The Festival will be based mainly outdoors, provoking curious minds and encouraging adventure and exploration.”

Community is at the core of the Festival and is reflected throughout the program with special events taking place at iconic swimming hole The Res, Castlemaine’s spectacular historical site Buda House and Garden, the Town Hall, Western Reserve and its beloved Botanical Gardens.

Spreading its wings to Bendigo for the first time, the Festival will also hold special events at The Capital, Bendigo Art Gallery and Ulumbarra Theatre. Tune in from home with several programs being live-streamed straight to your screens.

The 2021 Castlemaine State Festival runs from 19 March to 4 April. Tickets are now available. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: One Fell Swoop presents By A Thread – photo by Aaron Walker Photography