Hello from wintry Manchester!

It is now December and very close to the holiday season for most of us. That in turn means 2019 is not far away and, for me, the excitement really starts mounting as we make the seven month crescendo towards our festival in July.

Somehow AFCM never feels far away and only recently I caught up with both Tine Thing Helseth and Lars Anders Tomter in Oslo who were both so positive about their time in Townsville. However, I have also been catching up in person with some very excited musicians who will be coming to AFCM for the very first time in 2019. I am continually thinking of who, what, where and how; and yes – preparations for 2020 have already started! As many of us feel the stresses of every-day life, or contemplate the state of our planet, it reinforces my view that music and the collective experience of performance is really something special and valuable. The energy, stimulation and emotional involvement, which unite all performers and creatives with our listeners, is something very precious and I know that those ten days are full on. So be it! Let us immerse ourselves in all that a festival can offer. ORIGINS is jam-packed – so get ready!

As you will not hear from me until 2019, let me take this opportunity to wish you all the most wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and happy New Year!