Heritage festival underway with bagpiper launch

The second Dunedin Heritage Festival was launched quite appropriately at the Otago Settlers Museum last night.

Over the next four days the $250,000 Dunedin City Council-funded, two-yearly event will celebrate Dunedin art and industry.

The festival kicks off at 8am today when 11 bagpipers will converge on the Octagon to pipe in the festival.

The Dunedin City Council noise control officers could be stretched working to sort that lot out.

A rendition of New Zealand's national anthem (by Dunedin composer Thomas Bracken) will follow, performed by more than 30 primary and secondary school choirs.

Much of the festival will be centred on the late Dunedin poet and philanthropist Charles Brasch.

"An evening with Charles Brasch and friends" at Marama Hall tonight will bring together old friends and colleagues, including O. E. Middleton, Margaret Scott, Alan Roddick and Alan Horsman.

The 2009 Dunedin Heritage Festival follows the inaugural festival in 2007, which celebrated Otago music and was perfectly summed-up by Mother Goose singer Steve Young: "I love the idea that we are part of Dunedin's heritage".

More than 100 people turned up at the Otago Settlers Museum last night to see the festival launched by new museum director Linda Wigley.

More than 20 Otago schools will be involved in events; ranging from from Glenorchy Primary School to North Otago Primary School.

Otago Daily Times editor Murray Kirkness will visit Columba College at 1.45pm today to judge entries in the Otago Former Times, inspired by news reports from a century ago.

Careys Bay will be the place to be over the weekend, with "Poets Adrift" and the Shellfish Festival tomorrow.

The Southern Sinfonia's "Southern Stars" concert in the Regent Theatre tomorrow night is sure to be a highlight.

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