GlenFest a success, organiser Derek Foley says

Heather Rose, P. Harries.
Heather Rose, P. Harries.

GlenFest, Glen Innes' four-day festival of culture and music, was incredibly successful, organiser Derek Foley said.

"It was new, it was totally different, because we left the norm," he said.

The festival began on Wednesday, October 2, the UN International Day of Older Persons, as a thank you to Glen Innes' mature citizens.


More than a quarter of residents are over 65 - and they have worked and volunteered to support the town, Mr Foley said.

"Pretty well every volunteer group - RPSCA, knitting groups, sports clubs, whatever you might think of - is controlled by older people."

To thank them for their contributions, the festival began with a free concert by pianist Heather Rose, from the Coffs Harbour Conservatorium of Music.

In the mid-19th century town hall, on a 102-year-old piano, she played her accompaniment for a 1929 silent movie, filmed in Newcastle.

The evening was, Mr Foley said, "an emotional moment for some of our older people". Drummer Peter Harries Jnr joined her for jazz, blues, and honkytonk.

Glen Innes' youths took part in a school holiday music workshop on Thursday.

A special encore concert was held at the Services Club on Friday night. Proceeds raised hundreds of dollars for the Glen Innes RSPCA branch to adopt and rehome abandoned pets.

The festival finished on Saturday night with a concert starring Voice finalist Candice Dianna.

"The audiences recognised the absolute high quality we brought to town," Mr Foley said.

Claire Chandra, a performance student at Glen Innes High School, also sang.

"Not only did we bring in quality, we also supported locals, and I'm quite happy with that," Mr Foley said.

GlenFest will return next year. Dozens of musicians from all over Australia - including Heather Rose - want to come to Glen Innes and play in 2020, Mr Foley said. He has already booked Town Hall & Services Club for 30 September to 3 October.

He won't organise it singlehandedly, but will run it with a committee. This will attract more funding, while the growth of the event will bring in more patrons, he said.

"The event is something we'll grow and we'll build next year."