Penola Coonawarra festival ready to fire up

Festival: Six bands will perform at the eclectic Coonawarra Vignerons Shenanigans Part 8 as part of the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival.
Festival: Six bands will perform at the eclectic Coonawarra Vignerons Shenanigans Part 8 as part of the Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival.

A weekend of live music is gearing up to entertain festival goers over the Penola Coonawarra Festival next month, to be held over the weekend of May 16-19.

On Thursday May 16, world-renowned 'The Black Eyed Susans' will be performing in the surrounds of the 1868 stone shearing shed at Bellwether Wines. Declared 'National Treasures' by Rolling Stone, known for indie hits Mary Mac and Smokin' Johnny Cash, The Black Eyed Susans celebrate 30 years of music.

Also on Thursday will be Mozart's Don Giovanni opera to be performed at Penola's Rymill Hall, this year celebrating 25 years of continued performances in Penola. To celebrate, the ticket price also includes a commemorative 25th anniversary glass of bubbles, and patrons are asked to BYO drinks and nibbles for the caberet style event.

Four piece local lower South East band 'Wize' - classic rock music from the 60s, 70s and 80s - will be playing at Penola's Prince of Wales Hotel, while new young bands on the scene will be showcased at the Royal Oak Hotel, both free events.

Now celebrating its eighth year, the Festival's hallmark event - Shenanigans at the Coonawarra Hall - on Saturday evening is a music lovers paradise, featuring six acts covering country and western, rock, country rock and roll, indie and others.

Organiser Simon Weston said the formula for the evening has proven so popular in the past, it's one that he's sticking with.

"Often in regional areas like ours, people rarely get the chance to experience several genres of music in one place - particularly in such a unique atmosphere like the Coonawarra Hall," Mr Weston said.

"With fantastic live music, food and wine, and a great community spirit, the evening promises something for both locals and visitors."

On Sunday, music lovers will have the opportunity to step up and showcase their own talents at the Open Mic Competition in the Beer Garden at Penola's Royal Oak Hotel from 4pm. Musicians, poets, spoken word performers and song writers - in fact 'anything goes' - are invited to entertain the audience with their talents.

Other music elements throughout the weekend include festival buskers, the Penola and District Caledonian Band, the Limestone Coast Symphony Orchestra, Kids Open Mic and Kelly Menhennet.

For Open Mic Entries at Heyward's Royal Oak Hotel contact Simon Weston on 0408 085 116.

The full program of events for the 2019 Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival is available at www.artsfestival.com.au.