Eisteddfod prepares to close

In 2019, West Gippsland Music & Drama Eisteddfod celebrated its Silver Jubilee by delivering its 25th performing arts competition to the community of West Gippsland and beyond.  We are extremely proud of the achievements of our association over those 25 years; we are proud of the young (and not so young), musicians and actors of all abilities that we have given performance opportunities to, the enormous personal growth of many participants and of the countless professional careers that our events have helped to launch.

The Covid-19 pandemic that has swept the world since our 2019 competition and forced us to cancel the 2020 and 2021 competitions has now dealt us a fatal blow. As we entered 2022, we recognised that there has been a structural shift in the nature of volunteering and are finding ourselves with insufficient people power to go forward. Our army of helpers has been severely impacted by the pandemic with many regular volunteers having reassessed their lives and community commitments over this period. Many other elderly volunteers and those with health issues are understandably apprehensive about increasing their exposure to community transmission of the virus. Our vibrant volunteer committee has also depleted in number since 2019 and we are now daunted by the prospect of overcoming this major people power shortage plus many funding, compliance and administrative issues in order to mount future events.

The time has come to pass the baton of grassroots performing arts competitions to the next generation. Failing a substantial injection of new people with ideas and a willingness to shoulder executive committee positions, we have made the difficult decision to move to wind up our association at our next Annual General Meeting. We are sad because we know that this will leave a gap in the cultural calendar of West Gippsland, but we hope that young parents and the music and drama teachers of West Gippsland will rise to the challenge to provide comparable performance opportunities for our aspiring musicians and actors. In time, we hope to see a new incarnation of a performing arts competition filling the cultural space once proudly occupied by the West Gippsland Music and Drama Eisteddfod from 1994 to 2019.