Too often, arts and culture play on a large stage, tailored for the greatest marketing appeal and the least demographic offense. The counterbalance are the small, hyper-local events that draw creative local talent, young and evolving, to present works for their communities. The Nor Lye festival, a play on the encircling North Leigh village, only posted on one of the What’s On calendars, only had one road sign where the dirt road entered the forest leading the the grounds.
Both kid-friendly and NSW, the festival gave aspiring acts their moment of greatness, broadcast on community radio. Most were high-school aged, some mimicking their guitar heroes, others with a genuine artistic flair (smaller groups seemed to fare better). And, of course, there was a brass band.
It was a bit of a game to try to pick out the parents in the audience before the performers came down off the stage: raised tablets and handycams were only a partial ‘tell.
Between sets, the organizers played classic rock that kept the brightly-garbed middle—agers happy, serving craft brews and BarBQ throughout the afternoon.
It reminded me of the Ripley Rocks gathering and others in villages across England, a bit like community sports and holiday orchestral choir pageants in the US. ‘all good fun and individual expression for an afternoon’s relaxation.