Barn transforms into a venue for Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival

Gentle reverberating notes of harp song will fill an historic barn more accustomed to neighs and pigeon coos than music.

The Harland Rise barn has experienced several transformations since it was built in the 1850s.

It started out as a stable for racing horses and home for racing pigeons with cobblestone floor and a pigeon loft.

The cobblestones have since been covered with concrete, and the barn housed seeds and silos until it was sold.

Sheep breeders Claire and Peter Blackwood bought the historic Harland Rise property about four years ago.

They left the barn alone until they were approached by the Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival to use it as a venue.

“The acoustics are wonderful,” Mrs Blackwood said.

The inaugural festival will utilise vineyards, churches and barns during a weekend celebrating classical music in late October.

The smaller side room of the barn, with the former pigeon loft and a two storey threshing store, has been cleaned and the doors have been re-hinged to cater for 150 audience members, Mrs Blackwood said.

It had been hard work, even though the barn maintained its rustic appeal, with the transformation starting in January for the October 27 to 29 festival based around Evandale, she said.

But the festival would “enrich the community by bringing other entertainment and activities that are different”, she said.

Harpist Marshall McGuire will perform his recital in the intimate new venue as the last concert of the festival.

While the intimate Sunday afternoon show sold out in less than two weeks, Mrs Blackwood didn’t rule out opening up the historic barn for other musicians to perform in.

Now the barn had received its makeover, she said they would consider any requests to use it as a music venue.'

The festival will host a series of concerts near Evandale to share classical music and unique venues around the town.