How many microphones? And what types? Do we want a riser for the drum kit? How many foldback monitors?  Where should the baby grand piano go – stage left or stage right? How much of the band on the apron of the stage and how many on the backline, so to speak, within the proscenium arch? What about their sightlines of each other? What about the audience sightlines? What time do we load-in? Where are the dressing rooms?

We’re three weeks away from our first show in 18 months, our first show at the Bendigo Writers Festival, in the lovely Capital Theatre. Saturday evening, 8 May. 8.30pm to 9.45pm.

The set list and guest writers were finalised long ago and rehearsals at Inventions Studios in Footscray are going very well. Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of technical requirements and running sheets and check lists. We’ve done it all before, 25 shows going back to 2014, but there’s a sense of starting anew.

New show. New venue. New audience. New members of the band. (When I told a friend we now have a cellist in the seven-piece ensemble, my mate said, “Oh, you’ve gone all ELO have you?!”)

Welcome aboard, Laura Sheridan.

A week ago Julie and I visited the venue to meet the Bendigo Writers Festival production manager and one of the Capital Theatre’s sound engineers. (Plus interviews with Bendigo Gold FM, and ABC Central Victoria.)

Writers festivals are used to organising two or three microphones, some seats and some glasses of water for a 45 minute interview with a writer. Then we come along and say, “Well, there’s seven in the band, and five guest writers, and we need a spotlight on the stage left lectern at the start and then one on the lead vocalist…”

The Capital Theatre is not short of resources – it hosts anything from Fleetwood Mac tribute shows to the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra to Paul Grabowsky and Kate Ceberano to a blues festival– so we know we’re in good hands. We also know we are one of 50 events across the weekend, featuring 100 writers, so festival production staff will have plenty on their plates.

We look forward to seeing you there. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hear songs in a different way.


Full festival program


Vin is founding editor of Stereo Stories and director/MC of Stereo Stories In Concert.