Gang-gang

Thousands of Canberrans turned out for the Voices in the Forrest concert program at the National Arboretum.

Thousands of Canberrans turned out for the Voices in the Forrest concert program at the National Arboretum. Photo: Lannon Harley

With the memories, good and bad and average, of the Voices In The Forest extravaganza still fresh, we feel a nice dilemma brewing for the organisers of next year's concert.

Behaviour of concert-goers on the night and now the behaviour of those writing letters to the editor and making contact with this columnist reveals a chasm between those who want it to be a child-friendly event (with little ones free to gambol and to make merry, playing noises) and those who want it to be child-hostile as if one is in one's snob's seat at the opera, with no audience distractions from what the diva is doing on stage.

What will 2013's Voices authorities ordain?

As reported elsewhere, some of the most enthusiastic applause of the night came from massed burghers applauding, righteously, the MC's request that children no longer be allowed to play on the inviting grass paddock in front of the stage.

This columnist thought that request and the burgher applause that greeted it contrary to the spirit of the evening.

A Weston reader who was there with her playful children writes in anger about the attitude of ''the stuffy old farts who clapped and cheered'' when the MC intervened.

''We'd been having a lovely time until then … I think the good citizens of Canberra should decide whether they want record community participation in public events, including children, or whether they want to pretend they're so sophisticated that they could be at the opera house.'' She was with two other families of young children who shared her indignation.

Tremble, stuffy old farts, for even as I write, more correspondence of this indignant ilk is rolling in and will adorn coming columns.