CANBERRA, May 1 (Xinhua) — Birds, as special guest performers of this year’s music festival, were chirping at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, while people, surrounded by trees and flowers, stood listening quietly and attentively to the music.
“Last year we didn’t have a festival. We had to cancel it like everyone else,” said Roland Peelman, artistic director of the festival. “Now we are back in action.”
Friday marks the beginning of the Canberra International Music Festival, which will run until May 9. The festival, launched in 1994, has become an annual event since 1997.
Peelman told Xinhua that during the 10-day event this year, at least three or four events are to be held each day, involving about 100 artists and around 8,000 audiences.
Seven groups performed for Concert One at the botanic gardens, with about 25 musicians, according to the artistic director. Groups of audiences were guided through the gardens, stopping at different venues to enjoy chamber, classical, jazz, contemporary and world music.
Peelman said that normally concerts were held in halls where people sat and clapped. “It is special experience for people to be in this beautiful environment to be able to walk, hear the birds and enjoy music,” he said.
The Super Rats with four artists was one of the bands that performed in the Rock Garden with their Romanian-style music.
“We are from Canberra, but the music we play is from elsewhere in the world,” said Tim Meyen who played the cimbalom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, overseas musicians were not able to come this year, and the 47-year-old musician believed that various music styles could make the festival more international.
Live music has been absent for a long time during the pandemic when concerts were usually held online. “But I feel some of the magic performing live was lost when we performed that way,” said Meyen. “So it is nice to be able to get together with the audiences again.”
Bill Barker, who used to work in information technology, is a volunteer at the festival.
His wife plays cello and his son was a professional musician. “We all love music,” he said. “This is a great way to listen to good music, visit interesting places and meet interesting people.”
He said people in Canberra were very lucky to be hardly affected by the COVID-19, and able to enjoy music festival like this.
“We miss overseas guests and visitors,” he added. “But it is nice to have live music again.” Enditem