Lit festival draws crowds
Organisers of the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival have applauded the local community for a groundswell of support that saw events at capacity across the weekend.
Ticket-holders sold out a number of satellite events, keen to take part in an audience with some of the country’s most esteemed authors, presenters and journalists.
Venues including Voyager Estate, The River and Riversmith hosted special events, and authors held talks and workshops at Augusta, Margaret River, Dunsborough and Busselton libraries.
The event was in full swing by Friday at Margaret River HEART with a range of free activities on offer for families and literature fans.
Festival Director Sian Baker said she had been “blown away” by the feedback she had received.
“I am quite simply humbled by the incredible response to this year’s festival and the kind words of support that continue to flood in from our audience, authors, presenters, guests and festival sponsors and partners,” she said.
“After the cancellation of our festival in 2020, the thought of being able to come back together and celebrate with such an array of incredible literary talent seemed at times like a distant dream and at other times like a straight-up impossibility.
“When I look back on the last year and the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had across the events and literary world, I am incredibly proud that we, Arts Margaret River, a grassroots arts organisation has been able to weather the storm and emerge more passionate and stronger than ever.”
Ms Baker said attendees were ably assisted by a large and dedicated group of volunteers.
“I would like to thank our incredible volunteers, who give their time, their passion, and their boundless energy to support Arts Margaret River events throughout the year and are the backbone of the festival,” she said.
“And to our amazing local community, thank you for your unwavering support and continued enthusiasm for our work, which has kept us going even through the darkest months.”
Nicky Hansen, General Manager of Margaret River HEART, said the event had a distinctly local vibe.
“Although the HEART has been busy, delivering over 300 events in the past 12 months, there was something really special about delivering the Readers and Writers Festival,” Ms Hansen said.
“It was heart warming – pardon the pun – to see this much loved community event back in it’s ‘home’, and to see this community facility buzzing with people all day and night for a full three days.
“The festival team, working with an incredible army of volunteers, delivered a creative, yet ordered event.”
Ms Hansen applauded the efforts of the HEART and Arts Margaret River teams.
“The weekend for us, from an event perspective, was a consolidation of our relationship with Arts Margaret River and the broader community, and this was echoed by Shire President Ian Earl, when he officially declared the HEART open at the launch on Friday night,” she said.
“We work closely with Arts Margaret River throughout the year, with a further six performances to collaborate on coming up before the end of 2021.
“I’m sure I speak for the whole HEART team when I say we really look forward to hosting the 2022 Readers and Writers Festival.”
Ms Baker said the festival’s sponsors and financial partners were the unsung heroes of the event.
“Providing financial and product support allows us to continue to grow and evolve the festival, helping us create new experiences and attract new audiences,” she said.
“And finally, thanks to our audience, whose continued support and patronage gives us the inspiration and the determination to keep evolving and elevating the festival to new dazzling heights.”
Read full Augusta Margaret River Mail article here.