Launch of Awakenings Festival

Event date: 
17 September 2008

Organisers will launch Australia's only arts festival dedicated to people with 'all abilities' with a 'Walking Bus Tour' on Wednesday, September 17.

The tour, involving a short walk to festival venues, is designed to provide a unique edge to this year's 13th annual Awakenings Festival in Horsham.

The Walking Bus Tour, in line with an Art-A-bout project sponsored by Festivals Australia, is designed to provide guests with insight into festival artists, venues and performances.

Awakenings director Jacinda O'Sullivan said the tour was an innovative and creative way to launch an event which had attracted registrations from as far as the United States and New Zealand.

'It will give people an inside view into the life of Awakenings,' she said.

'And it fits in with the Art-a-bout concept and the Australian Government's proud association with the festival.'

Horsham Mayor Pam Clarke will be among guests at the launch which starts at the festival's new Urqhart Street 'Horizons' headquarters at 5pm. The launch also involves an official opening of the Awakenings offices.

People keen to attend can RSVP their attendance on 03 5382 1919.

Apart from international visitors the Awakenings Festival, from October 17 to 26, has attracted registrations from Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia, NSW and Tasmania. Organisers expect more as the event draws closer.

This year, artists from vast and diverse backgrounds will present their work in visual arts, live musical and theatre performances, a street festival and many outdoor adventures.

Horsham and the Wimmera community have embraced visiting festival performers, artists and carers for more than decade. The region is again reaching out its arms in welcome.

This year's festival will feature hundreds of community events. Highlights during the week include performances by folk band My Friend the Chocolate Cake, a Rotary art-touring program, and Horsham Cup.

The festival has maintained its charter to encourage all levels of performance experience.

Organisers strongly urge people to get involved and participate or attend performances by actors and singers launching their careers at Awakenings.

A major art project at this year's festival will involve the transformation of a large bus into an interactive art work that will tour the Wimmera.

Awakenings draws inspiration from the likes of its patron and world-renowned pianist David Helfgott, who believes 'in art there is only ability.'

The program also includes a breakfast conference with a quest speaker from Ark Regional Services, Wyoming, USA, and a forum with international drummer Andrew Hewitt who has cerebral palsy.

Workshops will include everything from circus to comedy, drumming to dress-ups, wheelchair dancing to four-wheel driving. Horsham's many cafes, hotels and venues will feature photo and art exhibitions and performances by musicians.

Most attractions are free of charge and designed to appeal to a family audience.

The festival's grand finale will be the Awakenings Ball featuring Celtic rock band Claymore. Hoola Hoop artist Asphyxia, who is profoundly deaf, will also provide entertainment.

Wimmera Uniting care launched Awakenings in 1996.

People seeking further information about Awakenings or to register their participation, can visit website www.awakeningsfestival.com.au, send an email to [email protected] or phone the festival office on 03 5382 1919.