Naturally New Age Festival 25 October

Published on 14 October 2015

AN ARRESTING mix of rock, reggae and African arts will enliven Central Victoria later this month when the monthly Wedderburn Farmers’ Market links up with the town’s annual New Age Festival for one vibrant day.

Based at the Wedderburn Community Centre, the event will combine the customary fresh fruit and vegetables, preserves, wines, honey, plants, olive oils, live poultry and art and craft of the market with the festival’s mix of candles, crystals, massages, psychics and alternative healing.

Planned for Sunday 25 October from 9am to 3pm, the day marks the close of this year’s “Naturally Loddon” Spring Festival, a seven-week program of events showcasing the natural attractions of the region.

Event co-ordinator Jacquie Stallinga said attendance numbers had been growing strongly over the year.

“With the arrival of warmer weather, we’d expect bigger crowds and we certainly had a good turn-out last month,” Ms Stallinga said.

“However, this next market is the one we’ve been looking forward to all year.”

Visiting Wedderburn for the first time will be Melbourne reggae band Ras Jahknow, containing multi-instrumentalist musicians from the African island nation of Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Tonga and Australia.

The band has soared in popularity since its foundation in late 2010, performing at events such as the Rise Festival in the US, Brimbank Festival, French Fest on French Island, Port Fairy Folk Festival and the African Music and Cultural Festival in Melbourne’s Federation Square.

Also appearing is Bendigo-based acoustic rock duo “Bleach” – Sean Nudl and Xavier Carthew – who won new fans with their first visit to Wedderburn Farmers Market last April.

Another highlight will be a visit by representatives of the Yemaya Festival, who are coming to Wedderburn to promote their 2016 event.

This annual festival, to be held next May at Fernihurst, between Wedderburn and Pyramid Hill, comprises a weekend of music and visual arts, combined with spaces for crystal healing, relaxation, art and creative participation.

“Our growing craft and farmers’ markets will be operating, including some stall-holders from Bendigo who will have lost their normal trading day thanks to the Bendigo Show,” Ms Stallinga said.

“Visitors should watch out for another newcomer in aura photographer Ghandi Mandel, who is driving up from Gippsland with his wife, Wendy.”

Speaking from his home in Warragul, Mr Mandel said he and Wendy were now retired, but still accepted the occasional invitation to practise their art.

“Basically, it’s about capturing what’s termed ‘bio-feedback’,” Mr Mandel said.

“The subject sits for about 30 seconds with hands on a metal plate, we photograph him or her and, from the resulting Polaroid image, we seek to gain a sense of the spiritual, physical, mental and emotional energies displayed.

“The camera gear we use is rare and costly – there might only be 10 such cameras in Australia and two of those are in Victoria.”

The October market will also feature wrought-iron flowers and furniture, a visiting artist from Dunolly, a stall selling African baskets and a display by “heArt of shonA”, a Ballarat-based business dealing in fabrics, jewellery, art and crafts made in Zimbabwe.

Ms Stallinga said this latest New Age Festival – the third in a row – would have plenty to interest visitors.

“There’s nothing in this part of the state quite like it,” she said.

“It’s free to enter, it draws people to the town and offers high-quality produce and entertainment.

“We owe our thanks to the organisations which have backed the idea from the start – Regional Development Victoria, the Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association, Wedderburn Tourism, Loddon Shire and the local Lions Club.”

For more details, phone 5494 3489.