Nature's Concert Hall

To see all the latest news and images of the build, please go to the Windsong Pavilion blog.

Four Winds, January 2015

Four Winds Native Species Arboretum

Nature's concert hall

Four Winds exists to create meaning for people through the power of unique music-in-nature experiences. Our 10ha site has two architect designed arts performances spaces with manicured surrounds providing an inspirational setting for music. However to meet our objective - to enhance our natural environment - Four Winds, in 2013, decided to transform much of the remaining area of ex-beef cattle grazing land, into a native species arboretum.

With major input from local Landcare, botanists and indigenous local knowledge, including creating interpretive signage, we will restore the original flora - greatly increasing biodiversity – and provide native species education and for our local, regional and national community.

Four Winds has an established track-record in community engagement and the construction of a new performance space on site means all-year-round participation in music-in-nature experiences. Many of our 3000 strong participation base and local community has expressed great interest in this project. Integrated with FW Arts activities, the site will provide inspiration to the 1000's of visitors a year, illustrating the richness and uniqueness of the region's botanical heritage and its great horticultural potential whilst controlling erosion and weeds and retarding fire.

The Four Winds site is situated in the locality of Barragga Bay, 8 km south of the small NSW township of Bermagui. The site was predominantly spotted gum and rainforest, but had been both logged and substantially cleared in the 1960s for cattle farming. Further tree removal was recently required for access road and power lines and to erect the Windsong Pavilion which was completed in 2014. Four Winds has been using the site for music festivals since the early 1990s and has created an outdoor amphitheatre (the Sound Shell) designed pro bono by Philip Cox, seating 2000 people, and the Windsong Pavilion, seating 180 and designed pro-bono by Clinton Murray.

The whole site is called 'Nature's Concert Hall' and now provides the backdrop for exquisite 'music-in-nature' experiences for local, national and international audiences and participants. The permanent all-weather venue now allows for both music and environmental education, in a unique combination, not seen anywhere in the world. Music composition and performance based around the regenerating natural habitat for local fauna and flora is similarly unique and is building local community cohesion and resilience around these new industries.

aerial view of Nature's concert hall

Transforming our Site into a New Music and Creative Facility

Image of the forest site and Sound Shell which make up Nature's Concert HallThe forest site and Sound Shell which make up Nature's Concert Hall at Barragga Bay - Image: Robert Tacheci

Since its creation twenty years ago, Four Winds Festival has presented world-class performances, virtuoso musicians, commissioned Australian music and world premiers at a beautiful natural site at Barragga Bay, near Bermagui in NSW. It has also fostered strong community involvement through its year long Inspiring and Festival Windsong programs. At the heart of the Four Winds philosophy is the belief that a culturally engaged community is a healthy and enriched community.

Visionary plans by the Four Winds Festival Board wanted more than just an outstanding biennial music festival. Conversations with local artists and cultural facilitators led to a groundswell of support which spawned financial investment from governments and private donors.

Recognising the significance of this capital development, the Federal Government (through the Regional Development Australia Fund) has provided a grant of $1.67million to the project. With a total budget of $3.1m, the Federal Government is a significant partner in the transformation of the site into a permanent and sophisticated arts centre, Nature’s Concert Hall.

Stage 1 of Nature’s Concert Hall, the Sound Shell was completed and launched at the Four Winds Festival in April 2012. We now are working towards completing Stage 2, The Pavilion, which will be launched at our next Festival in 2014.

artist's impression of the new pavilionArtist's impression of the new pavilion, which will form part of Nature's Concert Hall

In rural and remote areas, deep community engagement and key partnerships are critical to the success of any community activity. Four Winds Festival is delighted that organisations such as the Sydney Opera House, Queensland Opera and Sydney Children’s choir are excited to be involved with projects in the region.

Nature’s Concert Hall will nourish music education through community driven music projects and continue partnerships with the local indigenous community. It will also provide a regional portal to the world stage with high speed broadband to stream in and out of the site – local music to the world!

The considerable support of the community including significant voluntary and pro-bono contributions to the value of $1 million is making this vision a reality.

Four Winds, March 2013

Aerial PLAN FOR Nature's Concert Hall



Managing Nature's Concert Hall

A Building Development Group (BDG), all volunteers, project manage the Nature's Concert Hall project.
This comprises:

aerial view, Easter 2012
aerial view, Easter 2012Image: Warren Purnell

  • Mrs Neilma Gantner
  • Carrillo Gantner (Chair Four Winds Foundation and Leeser of Land to Four Winds Concerts Inc)
  • Sheena Boughen (Chair)
  • Rob Tacheci (Secretary)
  • Moira Scollay (Deputy Chair)
  • Russell Stewart (Site Maintenance Manager)
  • and two project managers,
    Bill Southwood (Ex Arup Partner, Engineer and still active in his professional practice)
    Bill Caldicott (Ex medical practitioner and dairy farmer, and foundation member of Four Winds Inc)

They work on a daily basis with the architects and contractors to develop and deliver the building plan.

A user group of professionals is called upon for input as needed.