“An utterly unique festival with an attention to programming not seen since the Domaine musical.”
Matthew Lorenzon, Partial durations
“Australia's newest and most ambitious festivals ”
The Wire (London)
“Bendigo, for these few days in September, felt like the centre of the world.”
Alistair Noble, theconversation.com
Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music strutted onto the international music scene in September 2013, winning critical praise from around the world and delivering festival and broadcast audiences a visceral experience. With an emphasis on premiere or rarely performed long form works written after 1960, BIFEM platforms excellence in musicianship and innovation in composition.
BIFEM's resident ensemble Argonaut is drawn from a flexible roster of virtuosi from across Australia and from visiting international guests, playing together exclusively in Bendigo.
Bendigo is a culturally alive regional city m founded in the mid-late 1800's at the very centre of the Gold Rush. While this great Central Victorian city is widely recognised for its visual and plastic arts culture, Bendigo is also a deeply musical city. The Bendigo Symphony Orchestra, City of Greater Bendigo Brass Band, Bendigo Chorale, Undue Noise, Bendigo Chamber Choir and many of the high school music streams all present dynamic annual programmes. In recent years, the Bendigo Blues & Roots Festival and Bendigo Writers Festival have flourished.
BIFEM has grown from a pre-festival pop-up event in 2012 through inaugural and second editions to hold a weekend attendance of approximately 2000, and an audience reach of more than 200,000 through a broadcast partnership with ABC Classic FM.
BIFEM is a free or low cost festival, and has received the financial, services and in-kind support of the City of Greater Bendigo, Creative Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts, Bendigo Bank, Robert Salzer Foundation, Art Series Hotels, Bendigo Advertiser, Frances and Harold Abbott Foundation, Stratagem Community Foundation, Bendigo Media Group, ABC Classic FM, Sofitel Melbourne, Goethe Insttut, Ville de La Rochelle, Institut français, Pro Helvetia and runs a modest, but growing private donors programme.