“Highlights for me were Margo Lanagan and Alex Miller and the concert with Arnold Zable and the woman with the fantastic voice. I will certainly come again.”
That woman with the fantastic voice was Kavisha Mazzella, who joined us from Melbourne last Sunday, making the trip with a friend.
Now it’s all over and successful beyond our wildest dreams, we can reveal just a little of what went on behind the scenes.
Like, for instance, that moment when volunteer coordinator Deborah Blake realised the train on which Kavisha was expected to arrive was delayed by more than an hour.
Deborah did a quick calculation and paled: Kavisha wasn’t going to make it.
The good news that Kavisha hadn’t actually been on that delayed train and had got a lift by car to Bendigo came through soon after, and Deborah breathed a sigh of relief.
For anyone who has ever organised anything, these stories will be familiar. You do your best, and then you cross your fingers and prepare for the worst.
Well, Bendigo must be in fate’s good books at the moment.
Although we disappointed a few people who didn’t get the news of Ita Buttrose’s change of session time, and made some others cross with back-to-back sessions proving difficult, it all went remarkably smoothly for a first-time festival.
This is testament to what started us on the path to creating this in the first place: a city blessed with a glorious venue in a lovely street close to the centre of town; many people with experience and skills ready to be tapped to create a strong foundation for a festival; and a council and a university willing and able to provide the support necessary for such a venture.
In some ways, the hard work starts now.
This festival rose in a rush of enthusiasm and goodwill, and we were blessed with the calibre of writers who came to take part.
Now, you can bet your bottom dollar, everyone will know how we can improve, who we should invite, what should be on the program.
Bring it on Bendigo, let’s hear your ideas and let’s keep it bold, fun, challenging and charming.
To presenters La Trobe University and City of Greater Bendigo council (including Bendigo Tourism and The Capital), to the board and staff of this newspaper, the Bendigo Weekly, to sponsors Bendigo TAFE, Telstra Bendigo Business Centres, ABC Central Victoria and The Wheeler Centre, and to all our other supporters, thanks.
To the bookclubbers of the Bendigo Weekly, you were the first public sounding board for the development of the Bendigo Writers Festival, privy to its development from the ground up. Thanks for listening.
And stay tuned: we’ll keep you up to date if and, hopefully, when, news comes through about the future of Bendigo Writers Festival.
– Rosemary Sorensen