To celebrate his return to Australia after 30 years based in Europe, Howard Penny joined forces with fellow cellist Chris Howlett and imagined a festival combining three of their passions: chamber music, fine food and wine. The enthusiasm of the Hunter family of Sanguine Estate meant the Festival found a perfect home in 2011, and the Heathcote and Greater Bendigo regions welcomed the idea warmly from the start. The successful combination of top international and Australian artists, exciting programming, a beautiful setting, award-winning wines, with excellent food highlighting local produce and talent, attracts an enthusiastic and loyal audience who value the relaxed and intimate atmosphere.
In the shortest time SEMF Heathcote has established itself as one of the premiere boutique festivals in Australia, and now sells out well in advance. To bring the SEMF experience to a wider audience the Bendigo weekend was successfully launched in 2015 and will continue to grow in scope over the years.
Whichever weekend they attend, patrons are assured of absolute artistic excellence, as well as the SEMF signature “inside track” experience!