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The Festival of Slow Music

August Story Box

A monthly Arts and Culture story by artist and researcher, Amy T.

We have a few big months coming up on the Ballarat Arts and Culture calendar, with one very special event happening right here at the glorious Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute.

This month I chatted with Adam Simmons, musician and artistic director of Ballarat’s Festival of Slow Music: an annual feast for the senses that calls the BMI home during the last week of Winter. Now in its third year, the festival has expanded from three days into a stellar nine days of music and fun.

Adam explains how the concept of slowness is not about music tempo but the philosophy of exploration and time to make connections. Based at the Mechanics’ with events happening across an amazing array of venues around the city, the festival will see a mix of local and visiting performers create magical acoustic and one-off experiences.

Adam grew up in Ballarat, and has fond memories of selling records at what is now Café L’espresso, and playing music in bands around town. He knew Ballarat would be a great place for the festival, loving the unique spaces and their beautiful acoustics. This year’s events will take place at some pretty diverse places from bookshops and gardens to grand institutions like the BMI and Art Gallery.

Adam loves using the BMI as the base of the festival.

“Architecturally you are transported to a different time, and a space that was designed with acoustic music in mind.”

Adam talks of the magic of the Minerva Space with its colours, high ceilings and resonance. The room creates a world of possibility for music, from really loud right through to a whisper.

There are also the synergies with the Mechanics’ Library ethos itself about learning the mechanics of things: of Nature, Science, or The Arts. “It’s a great link to the festival where we encourage people to actually meet the musicians and interact,” said Adam Simmons.

This includes open rehearsals where audiences can observe the musicalprocess and at times even input, becoming part of the experience. Adam is passionate about creating networks and friendships between people, and fostering an environment of slow enjoyment, exploration and unexpected surprises.

The Festival of Slow Music takes place between August 22nd and 30th and is a uniquely Ballarat experience. Check out the program for more information. I look forward to seeing you around town!

– Amy T

A bit about Amy:

“As an artist, researcher and proud member and volunteer at the BMI, I love its rich association with local history, art and culture. Over recent years here I have been involved in theatre shows, film shoots, dance, music and visual art performances and enjoyed talks, tours, shows and festivals, as well as access to the amazing archives.”

Pugsley Buzzard performing in the Humffray Room in 2014. Portrait of Adam Simmons, founder of the Festival of Slow Music. Some performances for the Festival of Slow Music will be held in the Minerva Space.