Cider’s pagan rituals return to Tasmania: S9 Bonus

Lighting the burning man at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival in Tasmania

Back in Season One of this podcast I took you to Tasmania for the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival, an event quite like anything else I’ve ever attended.

Organiser Willie Smith’s Cider recently announced the festival is returning on July 16 & 17, 2021.

I figured this would be a great opportunity to re-introduce the documentary we produced on the festival back in 2018 as we have a lot of new listeners who may not have taken the time to go back and listen to every episode from the very beginning.

But first, we meet Willie Smith’s Cider general manager Tim Hodgkinson, who is in the middle of planning the 2021 edition of this exciting event.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Willie Smith’s is running a smaller version of the event in 2021 by opening to a maximum of only 600 patrons per night on Friday and Saturday nights.

“At each night you can be guaranteed we will be making sure to cover all the highlights festival goers have come to expect of us,” said Willie Smith’s Cider co-founder Sam Reid.

“The local community has supported us through COVID-19. We are forever indebted to them for that, so in our minds it’s all we could do to keep the festival going.”

Lighting the burning man at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival in Tasmania
Lighting the burning man at the Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival in Tasmania

All the old favourites will be back including Nayri Niara’s captivating welcome to country and culminating in the burning of the “Big Willie” effigy.

Fire pits will light up the night, a storyteller’s stage will be nestled in the Apple Shed and additional entertainment will be provided by roving performers.

The festival’s core event, the wassail gives attendees a chance to sing their hearts out to the apple trees in the hope of bringing on a bumper crop for the next harvest.

Intoxicating: Ten Drinks That Shaped Australia, with author Max Allen – S6E2
Tasmanian adventures with Bruny Island Beer and Sailor Seeks Horse: S2E3
Phil Sexton: Wine and beer entrepreneur – S9E3

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