A world-première performance

A very special event for 2021 as John O’Donnell gives the first performance of his edition of the original version of Bach’s Art of Fugue. Published in December 2020 by the new European imprint Lyrebird Music, this is the first-ever publication of the first version of this work, of which Bach made a fair copy in 1742. At this stage it was a complete work in twelve movements, lasting a little under an hour. This will be the world première of the original Die Kunst der Fuga. Prior to the concert (at 10am), a free lecture will give a demonstration of the working methods of a musical sleuth and an insight into Bach’s compositional processes as revealed in the fair copy of this work and its subsequent revisions.

Details about the concert here.

Save these dates for upcoming events …

Final touches are being put onto this year’s festival, and we’ve structured it to be a Covid-safe experience.

Our extended dates are:

  • Sunday 9 May;
  • Festival weekend 11-14 June;
  • Sunday 11 July; and
  • Sunday 8 August.

Ensure you are subscribed to our newsletter and watch our social media for release of new events.

2021 – a festival reimagined

Designing an event, let alone a festival with multiple overlapping events, in these ‘Covid-slightly-normal’ times is fraught for organisers. The Woodend Winter Arts Festival committee has been working on the 2021 festival for many months and believe that they have come up with the best solution to balance risk while still providing arts experiences for patrons. “It’s been one of our biggest challenges,” explains Dr Jacky Ogeil, Artistic Director. “We need to combine some flexibility, a cancellation process, potential rescheduling and adding in new events if possible, so we’ve really had to reimagine the festival from the ground up. And we want to honour our promises where possible, to the Victorian artists we booked for the 2020 Festival.” 

Festival 2021 will be ‘WWAF Re-imagined’ and will be spread over several winter months from May to August in Salon style to allow for sudden lockdowns and rescheduling, reduced audience numbers that can be expanded if allowed, and even repeated or additional events depending on the prevailing advice from local and state governments. “We have to ensure the safety of patrons and performers and minimise the risk of a complete festival cancellation if a third wave hits Victoria in winter.” 

Festival events are planned for 2nd Sunday in May, July and August in addition to the festival weekend of 11, 12, 13 June. Daytime events are planned and will comply with all necessary Covid-safe restrictions. All events will be ticketed and require patrons to list the names and contact details of all ticket holders. Subscribe to the Festival newsletter for updates on events and any changes. The festival program will be available on 29/3/21.

Press release: 20/2/2021

An announcement

2020 Woodend Winter Arts Festival postponed

It is with great sadness that the Woodend Winter Arts Festival Committee announces that the 2020 festival will be postponed as a result of the very real practical challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts we are currently feeling here in Australia.

The festival was scheduled to take place as usual over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (5 – 8 June 2020), and the program scheduling was complete. We were planning to announce the line up later this month.

We understand that regular festival attendees and locals will be disappointed, and that this is especially difficult for the artists we have engaged to perform and present; this festival has always been about creating opportunities for artists and performers to be paid for their work.

To that end, we are in the process of working with all those committed to the program to find a new date later in 2020 in the hope that the virus will have been contained and ordinary life has resumed. 

If we can, we will reschedule the festival. If we are not in a position to reschedule, we will cancel for 2020 and be back bigger and stronger in 2021. We hope you will be there for us.

This has been a difficult decision, but we must prioritise the health and well-being of everyone involved and balance the commercial reality that we simply cannot afford to sell tickets at the level we would need to remain sustainable, and expect our sponsors to commit to our program, in this uncertain environment.

We will do everything we can to bring the festival to you in 2020 and thank you for your patience and understanding.

Thank you

It’s been a week since the festival, and our Committee and Volunteers are busily reporting, gathering data and finalising all the administration that goes into organising the festival.

Thank you for your continued support of the festival. We are delighted to bring you world-class events right here in Woodend.

To continue our work, we invite you to consider making a tax-deductible donation before 30th June. Again, thank you for your support.

Sold Out & Selling Fast


  • Piers Lane, Hommage a Chopin;
  • Viva Voce, Vino;
  • Advance Australia Where?


  • Kreisler & Rachmaninov;
  • Schubert’s Trout Quintet;
  • Poetry Slam;
  • Mozart & Haydn Saturday;
  • The Art of the Oud;
  • Viennese Classicism for Four Strings;
  • Vivaldi L’estro armonico Saturday.

2018 Macedon Ranges Business Excellence Award Winners

The Woodend Winter Arts Festival is delighted to announce that we were the recipients of two categories in the Macedon Ranges Business Excellence Awards – Excellence in Tourism and Excellence in Not For Profit categories.

Thank you to all for your support and acknowledgement. We thank the sponsors of these two awards – Bendigo Bank and Milton Collins Action Coach – as well as all the other sponsors of the awards.


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Change of line-up for two events

Dear ticket holders
We write to advise of a change of lineup to two events, which you have one or more tickets for.
Pietro Roffi has advised us that he is unable to travel from Italy to the Festival and sadly has to withdraw from the Festival this year.
In the meantime we have been able to make alternative arrangements for these two performances.
TWO MAD ITALIANS – We have Salvatore Greco on accordion who will join Davide Monti on violin in a fun-filled hour of musical jesting! Salvatore Greco has been performing and honing his skills as an accordionist since his childhood in Italy. He plays in a number of Melbourne-based ensembles, including Italian traditional music combo Bella Ciao and French bands La Mauvaise Reputation and Nuit Blanche. He has a special expertise in traditional Italian and European folk music and the gypsy waltzes much loved by accordionists the world over.
FESTIVAL FINALE DINNER – we have secured four upcoming Opera stars from Victoria Opera and the Melba Trust. They will present an evening of well-known opera classics, Gilbert & Sullivan and some surprises!
We are thrilled that we have been able to secure quality performers at this late stage. We hope you will keep your booking and enjoy the new lineup for these events.
For more information please see the website for these events.
Looking forward to seeing you at Festival 2018.
Woodend Winter Arts Festival Committee