Contenders to shine

Fionna Allan (Castlemaine Idyll team), Kate McDonald (MainFM), Briony Phillips (Idyll band), Mark Anstey (Lot 19 and Idyll),Tara Flinn (Idyll musical director), Jane Goodrich (Idyll team), Gus Read-Hill (Idyll 2023 judge) and Doug Falconer (Shedshaker Brewing) are looking forward to this year's event.

Lisa Dennis

Castlemaine Idyll returns to Castlemaine’s Lot 19 art precinct on Saturday March 18 to again give aspiring local stars their moment to shine.

The man behind the event, Lot 19’s Mark Anstey, said 2023 marked the 14th instalment of the uplifting community event.

“When I started Idyll, I was begging people to perform,” Mark told the Express.

“The first two or three years were a real challenge, but now it has taken on a life of its own and every year we are run off our feet with the amount of entries!

“It has really grown and has become a rite of passage for newcomers to Castlemaine. Many have stood in the crowd at Idyll and vowed to be brave enough to take the stage the following year.”

Such is the magic of the much-loved event, tickets for the 2023 event have already sold out.

Guest judges for this year’s talent contest will be comedian Casey Bennetto, performer and musician Aurora Kurth, and broadcaster and Idyll stalwart Gus Read-Hill.

Mark said the role of the trio was not so much about judging, but about offering a “supportive commentary”.

“We have all sorts of performers take the stage from physiotherapists to plumbers, the wealth of local talent always amazes us every single year and it is such a warm and encouraging crowd,” he said.

Gus Read-Hill is looking forward to being part of the judging panel in 2023.

“Idyll is easily the best calendar day in Castlemaine. I’ve been a band member and I’ve been a contestant, and now I’m finally stepping my feet out as a judge, which is really exciting. It’s a great day for the whole community,” he said.

This year, Castlemaine Idyll is supporting I Am Someone, a local charity that supports some of the most vulnerable kids in the world, and has cared for more than 10,000 kids to date.

There will also be a raffle to support not-for-profit arts space Lot 19, with prizes so far donated generously by The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine Bazaar, MainFM, Theatre Royal and Shedshaker Brewing – with the major prize being a three-year double-pass to Castlemaine Idyll and an exclusive Idyll t-shirt.

If you missed out on a ticket to this year’s event, don’t despair, you can tune in and catch the live broadcast on MainFM 94.9.