Australia may suffer from devastating water shortages, but music festivals are not only plentiful but rapidly on the rise. Recent additions include the Hepburn Springs, Albury and Tyalgum Festivals. Bangalow Music Festival, initiated by Queensland’s acclaimed Southern Cross Soloists and now in its eighteenth year, prompted the renovation of the town’s old Agricultural and Industrial Hall. It’s hard to imagine cattle lowing and the bleat of sheep and auctioneer’s gavel in what is now an elegant theatre with a plum backdrop gifted with enviable resonance.

Karin Schaupp and Lina Andonovska. Photo © Stephen Henry Photography

In between the nine main concerts, strolling Byron Street with its tempting cafes and colourful shops is a pleasure. There was instrumental colour aplenty in this year’s musical line-up, which boosted Southern Cross Soloists’ instrumentation of oboe, flute, clarinet, horn, violin and piano. Additions included classical guitarist Karin Schaupp, mezzo-soprano Xenia Puskarz Thomas, and bassoonist Adam Mikulicz. The inclusion of the stunning Orava Quartet, wickedly dubbed a ‘boy band’ by a Brisbane-based journalist, was inspired.

Festivals come in assorted formats and guises. Tyalgum Festival, from September 6-8, holds performances throughout the town’s shops and cafes as well as...

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