The Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields music festival returned over the weekend after a two-year COVID-induced break with the shorter program a rousing success.
While normally a 10-day event, given the current pandemic climate, the festival was shortened to three days, kicking off on Friday and closing on Sunday night with a cello performance by Josephine Vains.
Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields assistant director Judy Houston said she was concerned the 26th edition of the festival would not be able to get ahead.
"We've been really delighted with the festival this year. We were very, very worried, like everybody is, about the practicalities of it," she said.
"We were worried about the virus, we were worried about the safety of everybody, but we've been very fortunate because we've been able to have a shorter festival with just three days and everybody's worn masks and managed to be socially distant most of the time.
"The musicians have been absolutely wonderful, the concerts have been outstanding and I think everybody is very happy."
For some musicians, it has been the first time they've been able to perform since the pandemic began almost two years ago.
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"The group we had last night playing, Latitude 37, told us that they haven't been able to give a recital for 21 months because every time they planned something, it had to be cancelled because of the virus and they were delighted last night to be able to give their program," Ms Houston said.
"Usually, we have international musicians come too, but we didn't have any of those because we realise that was not wise and we've avoided all but one interstate person and we've been very, very careful. We followed the rules so let's hope that at least we can have a little bit of music after such a long time.
"We feel people in regional Victoria don't get much opportunity to hear the very best musicians without travelling to Melbourne and paying an awful lot of money, that's one of the reasons why we hold the festival, but it's also a lovely experience and people are so happy."
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