Unify, a celebration of community Shepparton Festival launches winter fest program

START ALL OVER AGAIN... Shepparton Festival creative director, Jamie Lea at the launch of this year's Shepparton Festival. Photo: Steve Hutcheson

IT’S back. While COVID-19 erupted at the same time as the Shepparton Festival launch in 2020 causing the event to be cancelled as soon as it had started, this year we are past the worst of it and events such as this can once more be held.

Accordingly, it’s time to reveal the line-up for UNIFY 2021, the 25th annual Shepparton Festival. Starting on the long weekend in June, the festival runs over 17 days, from June 11 to 27.

For the first time in its history, the festival will be held during winter. Festival creative director, Jamie Lea, says, “This adds a fresh perspective. The cooler weather and longer evenings have provided opportunities for different and exciting events that take advantage of the dark, as well as providing a cosy backdrop for our food and drink events. The trail of murals and projections, and our spectacular event at the multi-storey carpark in the Shepparton CBD are particularly exciting additions this year.”

Highlights for this year include Unify the Senses, a sound, light and movement spectacular, Converge on the Goulburn, one of Greater Shepparton’s largest free community events and Shine on Greater Shepp, a series of projections and murals, featuring local and internationally renowned artists. Awaken Dance Theatre Company return performing Within presented in partnership with The Australian Ballet Education and Outreach. Still Here, performed by Yorta-Yorta man, Neil Morris presents Nyanak  Baiyiya,  Nyanak  Nanyubak, Nyanak  Woka meaning We are Song, We are Dreaming, We are Country.

Featuring a compelling blend of performance, story and conversation, this special evening will evoke further reflection about the position First Peoples, Song, and Story have in the present.

When considering the theme for the 2021 Festival it was impossible to avoid reflecting on the year that was. Festival Creative Director, Jamie Lea says “Fear, isolation and uncertainty were all realities of 2020, but we also saw great strength, innovation, and unity rise up within both our local and global communities. It was from this contemplation that this year’s theme arose.”

Head to the Festival website for registrations and ticket sales and follow the Facebook page for further announcements. Shepparton Festival opens Friday June 11. www.sheppartonfestival.org.au