On a perfect winter’s day, genial crowds of mediaeval-styled folk descended upon the Central Tablelands village of Newbridge for the first Winter Solstice Festival since 2019.
At the stroke of midday, performances started with Black Joak Morris Dancers, followed by the Bashira Belly Dancers. Meanwhile, as those were winding down, the Vikings began to do battle on Gladstone Green.
While this was happening, the market stalls that lined Trunkey Street did brisk business. Before long, it was the turn of Suzy Spindoll to mesmerise the crowd with spinning hoops. Some good sports from the audience showed that this is a skill that takes some practice to master.
Wiradjuri Storytelling was entertaining the kids’ space, and then, at 2 pm, it was time for the village favourites, Felix Albert and the Gentlemanly Two, to strike up on the band stage and get feet tapping. Their first set was swiftly followed by the talented crews from Pippa Dance and Tribal Fusion Belly Dancers. Viking kids’ battles gave everyone a chance to emulate their fearsome heroes.
As the sun started to set and the band played its last, attention turned to the bonfire topped by the traditional Wickerman. The flames licked higher, embers drifted past the bare silhouettes of trees, and the 2023 Newbridge Winter Solstice Festival drew to a close.
An enjoyable family and community day out such as this one is possible only due to the tireless efforts of the Solstice Festival Committee, the Newbridge Progress Association, willing village volunteers and corporate supporters, including Blayney Shire Council, Regis Resources, Newcrest Mining, Orange360, Hill & Crofts in Blayney, the Gladstone Hotel Newbridge and Swift Coffee by M.
Save the date for next year – the festival will take place on the solstice itself: June 22, 2024.