Leading Regional Arts Festival Celebrates with Hallmark Events

Opera in a Cabaret setting, a high energy Basketball performer and a night of grass roots music heads up the jam-packed program of the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival, this year to be held over 14-16 May.

More than forty venues across Penola and Coonawarra will be abuzz with over fifty events including exhibitions, workshops, competitions, comedy, live music and performances.

The Kids Program will once again take place on the Mary MacKillop Memorial School’s Oval, right next to Petticoat Lane – the historical heart of Penola. Families are invited to join arty activities, face painting and fundraising stalls for local schools, followed by a free afternoon show featuring ‘Basketball Man’ direct from the Adelaide Fringe.

The popular Coonawarra Comedy Club returns – presented by Wynns Coonawarra Estate and this year to be held at Rymill Hall in Penola on Friday night.

Peter Goers is back for his show ‘Joyful Strains’ at the Penola Bowling Club on Saturday afternoon, whilst the popular Co-Opera event will take place on Saturday night at Rymill Hall.

According to Festival Committee Chair, John Mossop this year’s line-up represents the culmination of strong community creativity and dedication to the Festival despite a challenging 2020. “The Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival has distilled the traditional bumper line-up of events, turning its focus instead toward its much-loved hallmark events such as the Opera, Children’s Program and Shenanigans,” said Mr Mossop.

“We are buoyed by the opportunity to once again present the Arts in our own region, in a safe environment and particularly for our own communities, after being ‘covid-fatigued’ from the previous year,” he said.

Kicking off on Friday 14 May will be the announcement of the 2021 John Shaw Neilson Acquisitive Art winner – which now boasts prize money of $12,000 thanks to the generosity of long-term supporter The Balnaves Foundation – along with the Local Art Prize of $1000 sponsored by renowned local Lois Hodge.

The Design Prize of $1000 –an opportunity for aspiring designers to have their work incorporated into all marketing collateral for next year’s Festival- is this year sponsored by the Penola and District Community Bendigo Bank.

The return of the popular ‘Coonawarra Vignerons Shenanigans’ grass-roots music night at the Coonawarra Hall, will feature Kelly Menhennett, Archer, The Cart Wheels, The Stokes and Zoe Fox. On Sunday, aspiring and established musicians and buskers are invited to the Open Mic competition at the Royal Oak Hotel with plenty of cash prizes for heats, finals and cameos.

The Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival will this year have its headquarters in the main street, as the ‘Gateway’ to the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival, allowing visitors to ask questions about the events, grab a program and head off on their Festival adventure.

The popular ‘Down the Lane’ returns on Sunday in Penola’s historical heart of Petticoat Lane – reimagined as the contemporary cultural hub of the arts festival – where an exciting line-up of outdoor exhibitions, music, food and wine events will be on offer.

“We invite everyone to come and experience what promises to be one of the best Festivals yet, and to enjoy the performances, workshops, wineries, galleries, gardens, food and wine of Penola and Coonawarra over this exciting weekend,” he said.

Festival goers are encouraged to pre-book Festival event tickets to ensure compliance with COVID safety plans. The full program can be found at www.artsfestival.com.au, with tickets to events available online.

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