Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Weng-Si Cheang

Regional Arts WA Program Manager, Weng-Si, attended the Readers and Writers Festival in Margaret River on Saturday 15 May.

People sitting on couches on stage talking about the margaret rivers readers and writers festival, with a giant screen behind them projecting the full audience Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival. Photo by Weng-Si Cheang.

This was the second time I have attended this festival, the first time at the new Margaret River HEART venue, nestled between the community oval and youth precinct.

When I walked into HEART, friendly volunteers greeted and smiled, and you could really feel the buzz in the air for the second day of the festival. I received my bright pink wristband, and with my coffee in hand, walked into the main theatre, ready for the day ahead.

My arts worker brain clocked in three highlights:

  1. It was interesting to see how people, who purchased virtual passes, were able to tune into the sessions at the same time. The setup of the physical space in the main theatre, combining the projection of the virtual sessions as well as the area of the speakers, worked well. It somewhat connected the physical audience with the virtual audience as we could see what they were seeing. 
  2. The honesty boxes for the raffle table and secondhand book stall were genius and speaks volumes about the community of Margaret River.
  3. I attended a session where there was a panel of authors; the MC and one author was at the venue whilst three authors were on the screen, tuning in from across Australia. This was the first time I have seen this setup in person. It was great to provide accessibility for speakers. The success of this setup was dependent on the MC who guided conversations well across the panel. I would be interested to see how this kind of setup could work in other forums and events.

At the start of the day, someone said the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival is the biggest festival of this type in the regions. The breadth of speakers and the expertise of running such a smooth event was evident. Congratulations to Arts Margaret River for another fantastic festival.  

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