The first Festival of the Hills, held from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 February, has been warmly embraced by locals and visitors alike.
Mayor Jan-Claire Wisdom notes the value of the three-day series, stating that it has "shone a light on the value of free community events as an essential part of the wellbeing and recovery process from the pain and disruption of recent bushfire and pandemic events."
The event provided opportunities for everyone to relax, recover, and raise the spirits of the wider Adelaide Hills community. "Resilience, joy and positivity was seen and heard everywhere," said Mayor Wisdom.
"It demonstrated that those who play together in the good times will stay together in the difficult times."
Festival of the Hills was launched by Adelaide Hills Council with an Opening Night Party on the Stirling Lawn.
"There was a tremendous atmosphere of enjoyment, full of music, light, colour, and entertainment," said Mayor Wisdom.
"It was a great way to embrace the spirit of Fringe under COVID restrictions, and Bamboozled Productions did a terrific job working with Council, performers, and local businesses."
On Saturday 20 February the Festival turned to the township of Lobethal, where the Adelaide Guitar Festival curated a program of live music in support of local businesses. The music created such good spirits that it spilled out onto the street, with impromptu performances along the footpath.
"Feedback from locals and visitors was so good hearted and positive. What a tremendous partnership with the Adelaide Guitar Festival organisers; this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship." said Mayor Wisdom.
To wrap up the weekend we activated hubs along the Amy Gillett Bikeway, from Gillman Reserve in Oakbank right through to the Mount Torrens Oval. The weather was pleasantly sunny and mild, and saw a wide range of people take to this recreation trail.
"Discover, Play Bikeway! was a celebration of the joy of bike riding, with market stalls, entertainment and bikes for hire or bring your own, with a focus on cycling safety too," said Mayor Wisdom.
"It's a fabulous way to connect the communities of Oakbank, Woodside, Charelston and Mount Torrens, and show off the natural beauty of the landscape."
Present at the Woody Trails BMX hub on the day was Mary and Denis Safe, parents of the trail's namesake, Amy Gillett. Mary and Denis were delighted with the number of people travelling through the space and spoke with countless people about Amy, the Bikeway, and bike safety.
We also partnered with them to ask for ideas about the coming extension for the Bikeway; you can still give your feedback online.
In short, the Festival of the Hills has been deemed a success. As stated by Mayor Wisdom:
"It reinforced what a safe and connected community the Adelaide Hills is to live in, how proud locals are to share their community spaces, and how ambitious they are to do it all again some time soon!"
Thank you to everyone who was involved in this ambitious weekend, from visitors, to performers, vendors, volunteers, contractors, and Adelaide Hills Council staff.