A chat with the man who held his nerve to see Hobart Baroque rise like a phoenix in Queensland.

T here are many words to describe Leo Schofield. Gourmet, entrepreneur, impresario – all apply to the indefatigable artistic chief of Australia’s youngest festival, arisen phoenix-like from the ashes of the late, lamented Hobart Baroque. As I join him for a glass of wine in a favourite Potts Point café, the word raconteur springs to mind. I am here to discuss Brisbane Baroque with the man who, with partner-in-crime, Executive Producer Jarrod Carland, pulled the fat from the fire in the nick of time, and Leo is clearly up for a good yarn.

“The idea for a festival first occurred to me in 1988,” he tells me. “My wife and I went down to Hobart for the bicentennial re-enactment of the first fleet arrival. It was beautiful and touching, particularly when the Polish ship came in and all the Polish community came out on the wharf in national costume to present bread and salt. It was the old Soviet Poland, mind. The sailors were in 18th-century canvas clothing and poor quality Soviet sneakers, and they were all lined up...

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