Thursday, February 15, 2018

Glass in a library

In the week preceeding  the Festival's "Twilight Flames" and Expo, the Drysdale library is exhibiting a selection of books about glass.

The exhibition is just a sample of the non-fiction books about glass art that are available from Geelong libraries. There is also a range of fiction featuring glass art or in a setting famous for glass.

The exhibition is just inside the entrance to the library - you can't miss it!

Thanks to the staff at Drysdale library for creating the exhibition as a feature of the 2018 Festival of Glass.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Building community with glass

Now in its eighth year, the Festival of Glass is helping to build a sense of community as it promotes local glass artists.

The Festival is an initiative of the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association*, which set up a Festival committee in 2010 to establish and run the Festival. The Association’s intention was always that Festival would contribute to the identity of the growing local community while it promoted glass art – especially by local glass artists.

Consequently, the Festival has actively involved local organisations, groups and individuals since it started in 2011. The committee draws on its strong links with the Community Association and several committee members are also involved with other local groups and organisations, including the Lions, Rotary and the SpringDale Neighbourhood House. These organisations sponsor various elements of the Festival – especially the Glass Art awards - and their members volunteer to help at specific Festival events. The Bellarine Historical Society recently initiated an annual Historic Bottle Evaluation, which it runs as part of the Festival with the two organisations cross-promoting each other.

The Festival has involved local schools – through its “Welcome to Drysdale” glass mural project and its Mentorship Progamme for local young aspiring glass artists.

Business meets art at the Festival
As the Festival has grown, it has benefited an increasing number of local businesses in various ways. First, by buying goods and services from them – the committee always aims to “Shop local”. Second, the Festival Expo brings several thousand visitors to Drysdale and the Festival promotional material encourages them to explore local commercial attractions such as wineries, cafes, olive farms and shops. Third, the Festival’s Treasure Hunt brings treasure hunters to each participating local business across the North Bellarine - and every treasure hunter is a potential customer!

Local businesses have responded in various ways and the Festival committee is very grateful for their support. Without it, the Festival of Glass wouldn’t be what it has become. Some businesses sponsor specific elements of the Festival, such as the annual Glass Art Awards, the Artist in Residence Programme, the Mentorship Programme and, of course the Treasure Hunt; others give 'in kind' support, such as vouchers or special prices.

Special mention must be made of the Festival’s two biggest and most consistent sponsors - the City of Greater Geelong and the Bendigo Bank. Each one’s support and encouragement has been crucial to the Festival’s establishment, growth and diversification. Without them, the Festival committee would not be able to bring together anywhere near the number and range of people that it does – artists, visitors, businesses and community groups.

A sense of historical identity
Since the Festival committee was established in 2010, it has learnt that the Festival is the latest event in the centuries-old history of glass on the Bellarine Peninsula. The Festival has initiated an online history of glass in the area:

This history started when John Batman first arrived at Indented Head, bringing glass beads and mirrors as ‘gifts’ for the local aborigines. At the turn of the century, the area was known for the ‘torpedo bottles’ in which local spring water was sold; in the 1930s, huge quantities of shell grit were exported from the Bellarine to Melbourne’s glass factories and Pilkington opened Australia’s first automotive glass factory in Geelong. Glass has been implicated in the area’s growth since then.

* Now the Drysdale, Clifton Springs & Curlewis Association.

Featured Festival Sponsor: OPSM (Waurn Ponds)
The Festival of Glass committee is grateful to OPSM (Waurn Ponds) for supporting the Festival of Glass – in particular, the Festival’s Mentorship Programme for local young aspiring glass artists.

Since Optical Prescription Spectacle Makers opened its first store in Macquarie Street, Sydney in 1932, the company has expanded until there are now nearly 400 stores across Australia and New Zealand – including the one at Waurn Ponds, of course! OPSM stocks a wide range of designer frames, brand-name sunglasses (most can be fitted with prescription lenses) and contact lenses.

OPSM (Waurn Ponds) 173 - 199 Pioneer Road, Shop T913, Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre, Waurn Ponds, Vic 3216. Tel: (03) 5243 9288
Opening hours. Monday – Thursday 8.00am to 6.00pm; Friday 8.00am to 9.00pm; Saturday & Sunday 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Featured Festival Sponsor: Lisa Neville
The Festival of Glass committee is grateful to Lisa Neville - Member for Bellarine - for her continued support of the Festival of Glass. Lisa has supported the Festival both financially (assisting with our advertising costs) and in person, visiting almost every Festival Expo despite her busy schedule. Following her 2017 visit, Lisa made a Member Statement to the parliament, praising the Festival as a “wonderful achievement” and congratulating its organisers.

Lisa was elected as the Member for Bellarine in the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 2002 and is the Minister for Police and Water in the current Victorian State government. Between 2006 and 2010, she was the Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Community Services and Senior Victorians. Prior to entering parliament, Lisa was Manager of the SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre in Drysdale, President of the Board of Barwon Health and Chairperson of the Barwon Network of Neighbourhood Houses.

Electorate office: Shop G066, Gateway Plaza, Leopold, 3224
Tel. 03 9637 9654

Featured Festival Sponsor: Silvan family
The Festival of Glass committee is grateful to the Silvan family for sponsoring the People’s Choice Glass Art Award at the 2018 Festival. The Award consists of $200 and a hand-made glass plaque from Wathaurong Glass. It is awarded to the creator of the most original and eye-catching entry to the Art Glass Awards, as voted by people attending the Festival Expo. The Silvan family sponsors and presents the People’s Choice Glass Art Award in memory of their loved one, Antonio Silvan. Throughout his life, Tony valued community events. He encouraged everyone in his family to get involved in their community and to celebrate and embrace its diversity.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Glass recycling in crisis

Two recent investigations by ABC journalists showed that the recycling industry in Australia is in crisis, with glass recycling being hit especially hard.
Currently in Australia, recycling companies collect, sort, and store waste. Much of it is then sold overseas for processing into reusable raw materials. However, on January 1 this year, China banned the importation of a range of recyclable rubbish, closing route for 600,000 tonnes of material exported by Australia each year. Australia's recycling industry is feeling the impact of that ban already, with recycled waste being stockpiled in warehouses.

China’s ban has hit Australia’s glass recycling industry especially hard, because the market for recycled glass is already undercut by cheap imported glass. Indeed, it is currently cheaper to import glass bottles than to recycle them. As a result, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of close to worthless used glass are being stockpiled and used as landfilled instead of being recycled.

Each year, Australia consumes about 1.36 million tonnes of glass, including bottles, jars and other containers.Industry leaders warn that they cannot keep collecting recycling if there's nowhere for it to go. In Victoria, recycling company Visy will stop collecting waste from 22 regional councils from February 9. However, many recycling companies are locked into contracts with local councils that last up to ten years.

NSW alone consumes about 460,000 tonnes of used glass per year and the NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) prohibits recycling companies from stockpiling large amounts of material. However, a confidential industry report provided to the NSW EPA in 2017 reported substantial stockpiling of used glass. The report also said that in many Australian states the market for used glass is depressed; and that in many rural areas, increasing freight costs mean that recycling glass is only marginally profitable.

Despite this crisis in glass recycling, cheap imports of ‘virgin’ materials are preferred to local reprocessed materials. For example, road base is constantly being made with newly mined sand, rather than with ‘sand’ using Australia's glut of recycled glass. Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) president Garth Lamb has said that Mr Lamb said, "A lot of the big state government road projects ... could suck up all the glass that's being stockpiled around Australia ...”

Nick Kilvert and Carl Smith “The demise of kerbside recycling? China ban disrupts rubbish removal and fills warehouses” ABC News

Caro Meldrum-Hanne “Recycling companies stockpiling thousands of tonnes of glass as cheap imports leave market in crisis” ABC News

Featured Festival of Glass sponsor: Rotary Club of Drysdale                                      
P.O. Box 123, Drysdale 3222, Victoria
Meets: Mondays at 6:30 PM at Clifton Springs Golf Club, 92-94 Clearwater Drive, Clifton Springs, Victoria 3222.

The Festival of Glass committee is very grateful to the Rotary Club of Drysdale for supporting the 2018 Festival of Glass. Rotary seeks sustainable improvements in local communities in over 200 countries; and the Rotary Club of Drysdale raises money to support a range of regional organisations. The Club promotes local artistic excellence through its annual Easter art show and has supported the Festival of Glass since its inception. The Club was a major sponsor of the Festival’s Welcome to Drysdale glass mural in central Drysdale; it is sponsoring the Award for Wearable Glass Art at this year’s Festival; and it is a sponsor of the Festival's Mentorship programme for local young aspiring glass artists.

Featured Festival of Glass sponsor: Stockdale & Leggo
Drysdale.                    2/11 Clifton Springs Rd (PO Box 732), Drysdale 3222
Tel. 5251 4888         
Portarlington.              92B Newcombe Street, Portarlington 3223
Tel. 5259 1315         

The Festival of Glass committee is very grateful to local real estate agents Stockdale and Leggo for supporting the Festival once again. In 2017, it participated in the Festival’s Treasure Hunt and this year it is sponsoring the Award for Sculptural Glass Art. The Stockdale & Leggo real estate franchise was established in 1936 and now has over 90 offices in city centres, metropolitan areas and regional districts across Australia. Group members – such as the local agents - specialise in buying, renting, leasing and managing residential, commercial and rural property; and they do so drawing on the group’s history, experience and constant search for innovation.

Stockdale & Leggo has its own finance arm - S&L Financial Logic – offering a range of financial services, including home loan finance (which compares over 20 leading banks and lenders and hundreds of home loan options), financial planning & investment, self-managed super funds and personal insurance.

Thanks to the City of Greater Geelong and the Bendigo Bank, our Awards sponsors, our Treasure Hunt sponsors and other local ‘in kind’ supporters.

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Put “Festival Friends” in the subject bar and put your name and address in the body of the e-mail. Thanks - we look forward to welcoming you!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Venice comes to the Bellarine

An evening with Venetian glass master Mauro Vianello at Leura Park Estate is so popular that it has sold out weeks ahead.
Mauro Vianello at work in Venice

At "Twilight Flames" on saturday 17 February, Mauro will work his magic, blowing and sculpting glass while talking about his home on the historic island of Murano. The event is part of the 2018 Festival of Glass, where Mauro is the Artist in Residence; and the Festival is co-hosting "Twilight Flames" with Leura Park estate.

Mauro is an internationally renowned glass master, in demand by museums, universities, research centres and galleries around the world because of his ability to create extraordinary replicas of animals and plants, especially marine life. He will run classes between 20 February and 1 March in Drysdale for beginning and experienced glass artists.

Mauro's classes will feature traditional and modern glassworking skills and techniques; and he will show how to use these techniques to create a wide variety of glass art, from beads to sculptures.

Featured Festival sponsors: During his time in Drysdale, Mauro will stay at a local rental property owned and operated by Shane and Lorraine Cole; the Festival committee is grateful to Shane and Lorraine for supporting the Festival in this way.

Featured Festival of Glass sponsor: HelloWorld Travel (Drysdale)
Shop 3, 3 Wyndham Street, Drysdale VIC 3222                   5202 2718
The Festival of Glass committee is grateful to helloworld Drysdale for its consistent support for the Festival.
helloworld Drysdale owner Carol McCarthy has worked in Geelong for 3 years and has owned the agency for the past 18 years. Her agency specialises in personally escorted group tours - perfect for solo travellers and for those wanting to meet like-minded people. Recent tour destinations have included Canada & Alaska, Japan, Sri Lanka, Europe, Africa, China, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Cruising is another helloworld Drysdale specialty and the agency is accredited by the Cruise Lines International Agency Association.
The staff at helloworld Drysdale have decades of travel experience between them. More importantly, they are passionate travellers themselves - between them, they have covered just about every holiday destination! They would love to share their considerable knowledge and experience with clients, offer advice and help to plan the next adventure.
Whatever your dream destination, start the journey at helloworld Drysdale!
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New life for old bottles

Drysdale will ring to the clink of bottles at the third annual free Historic Bottle Evaluation on Sunday 11 February, 10.00am to 3.30pm at the Drysdale Courthouse.
The record-breaking bottles

The Bellarine Historical Society and ABCR Auctions are running the event as part of the 2018 Festival of Glass.

Experienced valuers Paul and David Bruce, assisted by leading Geelong collector Cam Ward, will appraise and value bottles and expect to see around 75 hopeful locals.

David Bruce said, “We’ve found some real treasures, which fetched record prices at subsequent auctions.

“One was a Les Bray St. Arnaud ginger beer bottle, made between 1900 and 1918, which sold for a record $650; the other was a hand blown wine bottle dated 1740 from Oxford University’s Magdalene College, which sold for a record $980!”

If you have some old bottles that have been around for years, bring them along – they may be worth more than you think!

Featured Festival sponsor – Parkers Steakhouse, Drysdale
7 Palmerston Street, Drysdale, Victoria 3222                        (03) 5251 5551
Open 6.00pm to 9.00pm Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday; 6.00pm to 10.00pm Fridays and Saturdays. Fully licensed; no BYO.
The Festival committee is grateful to Parkers for their continued support of the Festival.

Customers at Parkers come from Drysdale, Geelong, Melbourne and further afield for the friendly, relaxed ambience. Entrees include grilled beef sausage, grilled halloumi cheese or lamb loin chops; and there are decadent deserts such as Double Chocolate Hot Fudge Cake and Warm Sticky Date Pudding.

The stars of the Parkers show, however, are the steaks! Simple, boldly flavoured 28-day aged T-bone or certified Australian Angus eye fillet steaks come from Australia’s best pasture-raised cattle. Non-steak eaters can delight in the delicious Atlantic salmon. An extensive wine list and knowledgeable, attentive staff round out the whole Parkers experience. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Steuben crystal animals – art, not science

Steuben Glass Incorporated’s signature range of crystal glass animals originated in 1949 with “The Snail” and grew into an ever-growing managerie in the 1950s.

Steuben Glass Snail
The Steuben glass animals are unusual in that they combine the flowing, fluid forms of Art Nouveau and the massive, geometric lines of Art Deco. Neither of these artistic styles was still in vogue by the 1940s, although At Deco was still influencing some architects.

Steuben Glass Trout
Many Steuben glass animals, such as The Whale, The Trout and The Lion, make very striking ornaments. Others are just twee. The Owl is a good example of twee - and we won’t even mention The Koala!

Representation versus replication
Steuben’s glass animals are part of a long history of glass artists creating glass models of plants and animals. However, Steuben’s animals are in the realm of art, not science. Each one interprets its subject in glass, whereas other glass artists have sought to replicate the original plant or animal with scientific accuracy.

For example, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Dresden glass artists Leopold Baschker and his son Rudolph created hundreds of scientifically accurate glass models (to scale and enlarged) of plants and animals for universities and museums. (See “[Glass] Art imitating life” on this blog, 29 January 2018)

Similarly, contemporary Venetian glass artist Mauro Vianello creates meticulous replicas of plants and animals – especially marine life – for universities, research centres and museums. (See “Glass adds a shimmer to summer” on this blog, 12 January 2018) Mauro is Artist in Residence at the 2018 Festival of Glass, where he will demonstrate his glass art magic and teach beginning and advanced glass artists some tricks of his trade.

Steuben Glass – a short history
Steuben Glass Whale
The company originated as the Steuben Glass Works, founded in 1903 by Thomas G. Hawkes, an Irish-American glass engraver, and Frederick Carder, an English glassmaker. They named the company after its location in Steuben County in the south-west of New York state. In 1918, the nearby Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) bought Steuben. In 1933, Steuben created a formula for crystal that was stronger than ordinary glass, with a very high refractive index that made it reflect and refract light better than any other. What followed were Steuben’s ‘golden years’, which ended in 2008, when Corning sold Steuben to the Schottenstein Stores Corp. of Columbus, Ohio. In 2011, Schottenstein closed Steuben, but Corning re-purchased the Steuben brand name; and in 2013, Corning licensed The Corning Museum of Glass to oversee sales and production of Steuben glassware.
Plaut, J. S. (1972) Steuben Glass. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. (3rd revised edn.)
Steuben Glass web site

Footnote - the Steuben Lion
The Steuben Lion resembles the lion in the Holden cars current version of the ‘lion and stone’ logo. The logo has evolved significantly from its original, designed for Holden by Rayner Hoff in 1929. It refers to a prehistoric fable, in which observations of lions rolling stones led humans to invent the wheel.
Steuben Lion
Holden's 'lion and stone' logo

Holden's original logo

Featured Festival of Glass sponsor: Decal Specialists 
The Festival of Glass committee is very grateful to Decal Specialists for supporting the 2018 Festival of Glass - in particular, for sponsoring the "Encouragement - Best in Show" Glass Art Award.

The company manufactures ... well ... decals! Decals can be applied to any solid sealed surface, enabling artists to ‘import’ a lacquered image to the surface of their work. The company stocks a range of images, or they can create custom decals from a customer’s images.

The company makes three types of decal: ceramic decals, for fired glazed finishes; glass decals for transparent or opaque glass surfaces; and ‘non-fire’ decals for use on any sealed surface (e.g. terracotta, woodwork).

6/2 Brand Drive, Thomastown, Victoria 3074
Tel. (1300) 132 771    (03) 9380 7722

Featured Festival of Glass Sponsor: Leura Park Estate
The Festival of Glass committee is very grateful to Leura Park Estate for being a major sponsor of the Festival’s 2018 Treasure Hunt (8 January to 18 February) and for co-hosting “Twilight Flames” (17 February).

Established in 1995, the 150 acre Leura Park Estate includes 40 acres planted with premium, cool climate varietal vines, from which grapes are predominantly hand-picked. In the hands of winemaker Darren Burke, they yield the Estate’s renowned Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines, as well as Sparkling Shiraz, Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay and Sparkling Blanc de Blanc.

Owners David and Lyndsay Sharpe have designed menus to complement their wines, including stone-based pizzas, seasonal grazing platters (ideal for groups), steak sandwiches and salt & pepper calamari served with a Greek salad. Also on offer is exclusively roasted coffee and an extensive range of teas.

Visitors to Leura Park Estate can relax on the sun drenched alfresco area or on the lawn under market umbrellas, while an open fire beckons on cooler days.

The Estate staff can assist people planning a private function, a party, or a special occasion such as a wedding or work function. For informal occasions, the Estate offers its ‘fabulous, fun, finger food functions’.

1400 Portarlington Rd., Curlewis Vic. 3222
(03) 5253 3180             
Open: 10.30am – 5.00pm Sunday to Thursday and all public holidays; open daily in January. Live music on Sundays. Bookings recommended.

Thanks to the City of Greater Geelong and the Bendigo Bank, our Awards sponsors, our Treasure Hunt sponsors and other local ‘in kind’ supporters.

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Put “Festival Friends” in the subject bar and put your name and address in the body of the e-mail. Thanks - we look forward to welcoming you!

Monday, January 29, 2018

(Glass) Art imitating life

From the time of the rock artists of Arnhem Land, the natural world has always inspired artists, including glass artists.

Mauro Vianello - Artist-in-Residence at the 2018 Festival of Glass - is a world respected glass artist and teacher because of his extraordinary skill in creating glass replicas of animals and plants, especially marine creatures.
Mauro Vianello Two jellyfish

Mauro’s work draws on that of Leopold Blaschka (27 May 1822 – 3 July 1895) and his son Rudolf Blaschka (17 June 1857 – 1 May 1939). Glass artists from Dresden, Germany, they were renowned for producing glass models of plants and sea creatures.

Generations of Blaschkas had made a range of glass items since the Sixteenth Century, including eyes, jewellery and scientific equipment. In his spare time, Leopold Blaschka made glass models of plants and when Prince Camille de Rohan of Prague saw them in 1860, he commissioned 100 glass orchids.

Leopold Blaschka Sea Anemone
When Dresden natural history museum director Professor Ludwig Reichenbach, saw the Blascha orchids, he realised that glass could be the key to showcasing marine invertebrates (creatures lacking a backbone). In 1863, Reichenbach commissioned Leopold Blascha to produce twelve model sea anemones. The resulting models were a great improvement on those used previously to present such creatures.

At the time, while durable specimens of vertebrates (animals with backbones) could be created by stuffing and mounting them, the only way to showcase invertebrates was to place a live specimen in a sealed jar of alcohol. Eventually, however, these specimens degenerated into little more than colourless blobs of jelly. Consequently, biologists used drawings, pressings, photographs or models in wax or papier maché to represent marine invertebrates, each with its own drawbacks.

Finding success
On Professor Reichenbach’s advice, Leopold closed the family business and established a mail-order business, selling glass marine invertebrates to museums, aquaria, universities and private collectors. The business was a great success.
Blaschka Tubularia indivisa

In1880, Leopold and Rudolf produced hundreds of glass models of sea creatures for the Boston Society of Natural History Museum (now the Museum of Science) and Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. In 1886, Professor George Lincoln Goodale asked Leopold and Rudolf to make a series of glass botanical models for the Harvard Botanical Museum that he was establishing; and in 1887, the Blaschkas signed an exclusive ten-year contract with Harvard to make around 4,400 glass models. When Leopold died in 1895, Rudolf worked alone until he retired in 1938.

The Blaschkas pioneered many techniques and formulas and experimented with glues, colours and glass. However, neither Leopold nor Rudolph employed an apprentice and Rudolf left no successor. Consequently, some of their techniques and formulas disappeared when they died, making it hard to repair and preserve these intricate antiquities. Even simple cleaning can have devastating effects on the glue and colour.

Featured Festival of Glass sponsor: Drysdale, Clifton Springs and Curlewis Association Inc.

Members of the Drysdale, Clifton Springs and Curlewis Association (DCSCA) live, work or study in the Drysdale, Clifton Springs and Curlewis areas and they aim to improve local people’s well-being and to improve the natural, social and built environments. DCSCA members meet regularly to discuss how the local community is changing; to work with other local groups and organisations to shape the area’s future; and to represent local people's ideas and opinions to outside organisations.

In 2011, DCSCA initiated the annual Festival of Glass to link the area with a major cultural/social event; and it established a Festival of Glass sub-committee to run the event. DCSCA's intention is for the Festival to offer a new and unique showcase to local glass artists, craftspeople and companies; encourage others to establish themselves in the area; and encourage local glass companies, artists and craftspeople to collaborate.

P.O. Box 581, Drysdale Vic 3222

Featured Festival of Glass sponsor: Glass Fusing
The Festival of Glass committee is very grateful for the support it receives from the Glass Fusing company. Glass artists Ashley Williamson and Bec Schaefer established Glass Fusing because, as they put it, “We decided to sell glass supplies and raw materials because we got tired of having to buy so many of our supplies from overseas, incurring significant freight costs, simply because the products were not available locally at reasonable prices”.

Glass Fusing sells a range of supplies for glass artists doing fusing (of course!), slumping and casting; as well as tools, kilns, findings, books and magazines. The company holds a range of System 96 glass, made by the Spectrum Glass Company and Uroboros Glass. Ashley and Bec have found that, in general, System 96 glass cuts well, fuses well, and tolerates multiple firings without devitrifying. Glass products in the System 96 collection are extremely stable and consistent, designed and produced to be compatibly both technically and artistically. “We find that System 96 glass gives us a great palette of colours”, they said, “as well as an ever-increasing range, whilst being quite affordable.”

Fusing Glass p/l, 5 Hammond Close, Oxley, ACT, 2903
Tel. 0421 444 291    Web:
E-mail: via web site

Thanks to the City of Greater Geelong and the Bendigo Bank, our Awards sponsors, our Treasure Hunt sponsors and other local ‘in kind’ supporters.

Latest Festival news

Blog (you’re here!):

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Our Friends of the Festival online newsletter gives the latest Festival news, with special emphasis on opportunities to volunteer to help. To become a Friend of the Festival, please send an e-mail to:
Put “Festival Friends” in the subject bar and put your name and address in the body of the e-mail. Thanks - we look forward to welcoming you!