My last two attendances at the Burra Festivale with Tony Backhouse have been utterly uplifting and so good for the soul.  The fact that most of us have been more than once, are returning again, and that the 2016 Festivale is already booked out is testament to its attraction and charm.  It is not just the singing, it is also the interaction with the countryside and its people that creates such joy.

I can see you with permanent members of the Festivale etc, a waiting list a mile long, and the only way people can get in is when someone drops off this mortal coil.

Suzanne Lane - Accountant - Dunedin, NZ - Burra Festivale 2014, 2015, 2016.




Burra will forever be my magical place. Such a beautiful historic town, with a spirit that gave me the courage to sing out for the sheer joy of it, and the motivation to make proud an amazingly talented choirmaster. Thank you Tony and Raymond!

Denise Hansen - Director - NZ - Burra Festivale 2014, 2015




One of the best weeks of my life.

Meri Took - Company Director - Burra Festivale 2015




I have attended two Burra Festivales and they were both amazing experiences! They offer a unique opportunity to be immersed in a quintessentially Australian town, steeped in history and rich culture, as well as the fulfilling and joyous experience of coming together in song with people from all walks of life. Created by the remarkable, Raymond Hawkins (a uniquely colourful Aussie himself) and facilitated by the wonderful talents of maestro Tony Backhouse, the Burra Festivale remains a highlight of my life and I look forward to many more future experiences of this unique Aussie festival.

Anne Looby - Actor/Director/Mum - Sydney - Burra Festivale 2013, 2014.




The Burra Festivale is a highlight of my year.  Well organized, fun and emotionally uplifting, it's like being in another world for 5 days.  Indeed the beautiful old town seems to whisper the breath of history when the breeze stirs through it's tree lined streets.

Lynn Moses - belt maker - Adelaide Hills - Burra Festivale 2014, 2015, 2016.




I've been at all three of the Burra Festivale experiences, in 2013, 2014 and 2015. They have been 3 wonderful weeks, singing and harmonizing with the incredibly talented Tony Backhouse and a really lovely group of fellow travellers.

But the lube that keeps it running smoothly and very humorously is Raymond Hawkins, a man with endless ideas. He has very few bounds to his ambitions especially for the potential of the lovely town of Burra as a centre of a whole range of festive cultural activities. If he's as successful as he hopes to be, the world will never be the same again!

Chris Branson - Psychiatrist - Adelaide - Burra Festivale 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.




For the last two years my husband and I have enjoyed five wonderful days of gospel singing in the village of Burra in South Australia's north. We have been part of a group of people from all over Australia and New Zealand. Apart from the wonderful fellowship, we enjoy the warm hospitality of the people of Burra. They allow us to sing in schools, churches, wool sheds, outback pubs and by the river. The success for this imaginative sojourn goes to the excellent management by Raymond Hawkins.

Perry Snodgrass Historian - artist, writer - SA - Burra Festivale 2014, 2015, 2016.




Attending the Burra Festivale 2015 with music extrordinaire,Tony Backhouse, has been one of the highlights in our lives. Not since school days have we even been part of a choir. The 5 days of  really enjoyable workshops in varied locations around Burra was a fantastic way to experience South Australia. The overall organisation that supported our musical experiences was first class. The people we met and the friendships made has led us to book in for the 2016 Burra Festivale. Special thanks to Raymond, Ralph and Tony for the great leadership that ensured this pair of Kiwis has returned home with a fund of stories to share with family and friends.

Mary and Ken Fahey - Retired - Dunedin - Burra Festivale 2015, 2016.




I haven't sung with a choir before and I enjoyed every aspect of the singing which was inspirational and my confidence grew over the week. It was a unique experience in a unique heritage country town which has so much to offer.   

Living in for a week at Paxtons enhanced the total experience- it enabled community and friendship to develop.   

Michael Pocock - retired farmer - SA - Burra Festivale 2015, 2016.




The Burra Festivale has soul, passion and texture- it was an enriching experience of People Place and Purpose- 50 people from various locations around Australia and New Zealand gathered for one week in the picturesque heritage town of Burra for the purpose of singing. A unique choir was formed and people sang, some for the first time in their lives, four part harmony gospel acapella under the guidance of the inspirational Tony Backhouse. ( Tony has the ability to gently invite the hidden voice to emerge- this was my experience.) The week culminated in a concert performed for the local community. People were not just entertained but surprised and moved deeply by what was achieved in just one week.

Burra has a rich mining and singing heritage and there is beauty in the colours of the surrounding landscape that invites you into its heart. Singing with others is joyous - food for the soul!

Lisa Bridges - Investor - Adelaide, SA - Burra Festivale 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.




The Burra Festivale 2015 was my first foray into the world of music and choir and it certainly won't be the last.  The combination of music, fabulous food and visiting unique and interesting locations was such a great experience.  I met some wonderful people - fellow choristers and local identities.  To think this is only 3 hours from my doorstep!!   I feel very lucky to have sung under the guidance of Tony Backhouse - the whole 5 day trip was very well run.  Thank you.  

Brenda McCouaig - liver of life - Adelaide - Burra Festivale 2015, 2016.




Myself and 3 good friends experienced a fantastic 5 days involved in a singing workshop at Burra late October 2015 organized by the incredibly competent Raymond Hawkins and the supremely gifted Tony Backhouse. It was the first time I have experienced such a workshop and it completely opened my eyes to the hugely powerful connection music can have with people of different backgrounds by bringing them together  under the one umbrella and creating in a very short space of time a most delightful and rewarding experience for all concerned. We staged some of our rehearsals in some wonderfully historic venues, singing in a beautiful old chapel, a shearing shed, a primary school, the Burra town hall and gorgeous local hotels. The 5 days was such a rewarding experience as it opened my eyes to the spectacular environment of the ‘Burra’ in such a unique way and we felt we were also able to ‘give back’ in a very small way.

My friends and I are looking forward to another similar experience in the same region next year and already have secured a place under the very competent Raymond and Tony.

Marie Farmer - Director – Adelaide - SA Burra Festivale 2015, 2016.





Burra Festivale with Tony Backhouse is the most amazing experience in choral singing I have had. The comradeship of fellow singers, accommodation venue, outback town, wonderful places we sing, professional choir master in Tony and wonderful organization from Raymond makes it a most enjoyable 5 days in a great part of Australia.

Irene Edwards - Motueka NZ - Burra Festivale 2014, 2015




After coming to Burra for the 2014 Festivale with Tony Backhouse, I was absolutely set on returning in 2015 for another great five days of singing, with friendly people, fabulous food, and unique accommodation, in a lovely part of South Australia. I loved seeing my friends, who were 'first-timers' at Burra relax into singing, and become as enthusiastic as those who were returning for the second or third time. We all left (reluctantly) feeling relaxed and happy. 

Thanks, Raymond, for your excellent organisation and for making this happen. I'll be back in 2016 for sure!

Claire Stevens - Publications Administrator - Dunedin, NZ - Burra Festivale 2014, 2015, 2016.




At first I was skeptical, by the end of day 5, a little overwhelmed. Everyone should experience the joy of The Burra Festivale with Tony Backhouse, just once in their life. Truly wonderful and set in a unique and beautiful surround.

Carolyn Looby - Consultant - Sydney - Burra Festivale 2014




This year was my initiation into singing with Tony Backhouse at the Burra Music Festival. 

I was quite apprehensive at first but was put at ease relatively quickly with the warm generosity of all the people involved.  

I was surprised that out of a group of 50 singers twenty two were from New Zealand.  The appreciation by these people who live over the “ditch” of our unique Australian landscape was obvious.

Coming, as they do,  from one of the prettiest places in the world I felt it was high praise indeed. Burra and the surrounding areas we visited turned out to be wonderful ambassadors for Australia.  No amount of advertising can beat the genuine happy experience of an overseas visitor.  I looked upon the countryside myself with just a little awe at how amazing Australia is.

The Fetival was such a wonderful thing to attend and was so well managed by yourself and Tony, you made it fun yet I am sure everyone tried their utmost to perform at their very best. 

Your passion and love for the regional areas and their communities was evident and such a nice thing to see.  Many thanks 

Sue Frazer - Murray Bridge - Burra Festivale 2015, 2016





I am not  surprised that you already have a waiting list for 2016; a strong testament not just to a Tony's amazing talent, but to you and every one else involved. It really is something special!

Dr Hilary Phipps - Academic - Dunedin University - Burra Festivale 2015, 2016.