It seems like long-time ‘Bellingenite’ Seth Jordan is a necessary ingredient in the production of any Bellingen based festival, and this year’s Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival is no exception.
Many of us sorely missed this much loved festival in 2017, but with just over 2 weeks until BRWF 2018, Seth and his fellow committee members are working around the clock to ensure that this year’s rebirth will be extraordinary.
Seth took time out from his busy schedule to chat with Rod about the festival- and so much more!!
How are preparations going for this year’s Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival?
It’s looking very good. As organisers, we’re of course still dealing with the little details that aren’t quite ready yet, but we’ve been greatly heartened by the wonderful public response, ticket sales are strong, and along with everyone else we’re looking forward to a very mentally stimulating festival!
Tell me about the headline acts this year?
Well everyone knows about Michael Leunig and Peter Greste, but there’s also been strong interest in Don Watson, Marieke Hardy and Bruce Pascoe. They’re all very talented, intelligent and creative thinkers.
Who is the secret gem we should see?
Oh there’s so many! I think Sunil Badami will be both fascinating and humorous, the poetry sessions with Johanna Featherstone and Lorna Munro will be thought-provoking, and music writer Stuart Coupe will be very entertaining. And I reckon the Journalism discussion panel of Greste, Wendy Bacon, Chris Nash and photojournalist Tim Page is a must-see.
How do you secure writers to attend the festival- especially the big names?
You just ask a lot of them all at once, and see which ones who say ‘Yes’ are affordable. But Bellingen has an excellent reputation all around the country, and as a result lots of people are happy to come visit here.
Do you predict that The BRWF will be an ongoing annual event on the Bellingen calendar?
I certainly hope so. It’s been going since 2010, but as a volunteer organisation it’s continued success always depends on who comes forward to be part of organising it, and what skills they have. We’ve got a terrific committee and team this year – a combination of veterans from past Writers Festivals, along with lots of fresh energy.
What is your role?
I was hired last year through a Regional Arts Fund grant as an Arts/Cultural Advisor for both this event and the Fine Music Festival. It’s supposed to just be a part-time, one-day-week position, but it’s turned into a fair bit more than that! I ended up doing the BRWF’s publicity this year too.
Your best memory of childhood was?
Summer days in Kansas, and my grandmother’s flower-filled backyard.
Your best sporting moment was?
I was never a great athlete, but as a kid I loved playing baseball and I wasn’t bad at the high jump!
What would you like to be remembered for?
I forget. But thankfully that’ll be up to other people’s memories, not mine.
What are you reading right now?
I’m re-reading Don Watson’s ‘Weasel Words’ again, along with keeping a watchful eye on The New York Times and The Washington Post…. We live in bizarre times.
What are you listening to right now?
Everything at once, as usual.
What really annoys you?
Donald Trump and the selfish, arrogant ignorance that he represents.
The best lesson your parents taught you?
Listen to music and read books.
The last big belly laugh you had was?
A conversation about love with young Cuban singer Dayme Arocena at Womadelaide – that girl’s incredibly funny.
What project are you currently working on?
I believe it’s called the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival? – D’oh!
Just checking! How do you relax?
I occasionally turn off my phone.
Favourite restaurant in the Shire?
We’re blessed with quite a few locally… Cedar, Popla, Qudo, but it’s hard to beat the Fed Hotel’s generous and affordable specials.
The previous career you wish you could forget?
I developed film rolls in a commercial photographic lab for awhile, but between the chemical fumes and having to work in complete darkness, I’m glad it didn’t become a career.
Favourite holiday destination & why?
Just about anywhere in the Pacific is fine with me, and Tahiti is particularly gorgeous. Polynesian culture is vibrant.
In the Movie Sethgate, who would play you?
Perhaps a mongrel-cross between Jack Nicholson and John Malkovich?
Last year we chatted to Seth about his involvement in the Bello Winter Music- read here