Mayfield Garden turned on something a little different over the weekend at the start of October. As well as looking at the magnificent gardens, visitors were exposed to music and entertainment.
On the Saturday, the first arrivals were treated to performances by the Governor Macquarie Memorial Pipe and Drum Band. Listeners expecting to hear nothing but the traditional "tartan and bagpipes" that they might expect to find in a tour of Edinburgh would have been surprised to find that the repertoire included rock songs and other selections of popular music from over the ages. The band's motto is "Ludere Sine Timore" which means "To Play Without Fear", something definitely relevant when following AC/DC's lead to combine rock and bagpipes.
The afternoon saw something completely different, with a concert called "Opera by Design" featuring music "from Bocelli to Brightman and beyond" in a crossover performance between opera and popular music.
Sunday's concerts catered to a variety of tastes as well, with the Gregg Arthur Three-Piece delivering songs made famous by crooner Tony Bennett. The Weekend Australian once described Arthur as "the finest male jazz singer Australia has produced" and the concert lived up to the reputation. It was perfect music for a relaxing Sunday morning, particularly after losing an hour of sleep from the change to daylight saving.
Things livened up on Sunday afternoon with the Bathtub Gin Orchestra taking the audience back to the 1920s and 30s era of stomp and swing and even a bit of "gypsy jazz". Some foot tapping music was just what was needed to finish off the day.
The Monday public holiday had free entry for Oberon locals and the car park was full all day, keeping the volunteer car park attendants from Oberon Rotary busy from the time the gates opened.
The entertainment came from magician and illusionist Jackson Aces who performed in the outdoor section of Mayfield's restaurant. Jackson did some closeup work with the audience before starting his full show and it was beautiful to see the wonder on kids' faces when he made things appear and disappear right in front of them. Guessing someone's unusual name had the man in question shaking his head, but that's what mentalist magic is all about.
Mayfield operator Chris Muldoon was very pleased with how the weekend went. "It was an experiment to have the entertainment here," he said, "and we will certainly do more of it in the future."
"Jazz seems to work well in vineyards and it's something we'd like to try in our garden. Given the size of Mayfield it could be possible to have a variety of performers and styles spread across the garden like buskers, so there would be something for everyone's taste."
The success of the musical weekend makes it almost certain that it will be repeated in some form, giving tourists another reason to come to the Oberon area.