Shepparton Festival kicks off tomorrow

By Tara Whitsed

The 23rd annual Shepparton Festival officially starts tomorrow with an opening night event at Victoria Park Lake.

This year’s festival theme ‘Story Bowl’ will bring together artists, community and audiences.

Opening night marks the start of 17 days of more than 60 events and activities.

The event celebrates 20 years of the Shepparton Shorts Film Festival, where there will be a retrospective screening of some of the best films from the past two decades.

The film festival was the brainchild of then festival artistic director John Head, who created the event in 1999.

He said the event grew during the years, but this year’s festival would be slightly different to those in the past.

‘‘This year is invite only,’’ he said, adding they had invited a selection of past winners to either present their winning film or something else they had created.

Mr Head said some memorable films would screen on the opening night, including Welcome to Dookie.

The event is ideal for the whole family where they will also be able to dance to the lively tunes of the Shepparton Jazz Orchestra.

There will be food truck cuisine in an outdoor festival atmosphere.

Films start about 8.15pm to 8.30pm, running until about 10pm.

He said the selection of films ranged from G-rated to M, but there would not be sexual or violent themes, meaning the event was family-friendly.

The free event starts at 6pm tomorrow films start at dusk. Registration is essential. To register, visit sheppartontickets.com.au/event/8478 Do not forget to bring a picnic rug.

Message from SheppFest creative director Jamie Lea: 

Welcome to our first article.

We are beyond excited to be ramping up for Shepparton Festival Story Bowl.

Opening night is just around the corner (and) the emails, phone calls, cold cups of tea, emails and more emails flying backwards and forwards between our staff, sponsors, partners, board members and artists (have flown) to bring to the Shepparton community an inclusive, exciting and thought-provoking festival experience.

On a personal note, I am proud as punch to be the creative director of the festival and follow in the footsteps of the 22 years of generous humans who have gone before me.

Their commitment and passion are the reason this festival exists and is the longest running (of its kind) in regional Victoria. Thank you.

Grab your program, circle your personal highlights and make sure your friends and family are on board.

Come share the unique opportunity that is Story Bowl.

We’re cooking up something fresh and funky; and you are invited.

Chapter one

Yesterday was manic. We bedded down some logistics stuff and had heaps of conversations with some of the huge team that will bring Story Bowl to life.

We’ve got stories to share, stories to hear, stories to voice and stories to imagine.

Some of our events draw on stories from the past.

Others will emerge from memory or hopes for our future.

We can’t wait to see where our artists and community take us and the stories they encourage us to dream.

Sincere thanks to Shepp News for inviting us to write this regular contribution.

I’m a great talker, but not such an experienced writer.

I hope my ramblings make sense, but more importantly, give you a taste of the excitement cooking in Story Bowl world.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the 2019 Shepparton Festival, regardless of the contribution — large or small — you’re appreciated.

I must admit I am already thinking about next year’s festival ... no rest for the wicked, I say.

Looking forward to a lovely night under the stars enjoying 20 years of the Shepparton Short Film Festival and opening this year’s festival in a unique and accessible way. Everyone is invited, come one, come all.