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BY Carmen Stephens | 03-Jul-2014
Australia’s premier celebration of the human voice, The Festival of Voices, launches a stunning line-up of national and international musicians this Friday 4 July with Festival Opening Night at VOICEBOX.

From 6pm, VIPs including The Hon. Will Hodgman, Lord Mayor Damon Thomas, Festival partners, local businesses and artists will be treated to an exclusive taste of what's to come across the Festival of Voices' scintillating 10-day program, with performances by ARIA Award-winning Australian singer-songwriter Ben Lee, Allison Farrow and Clare Dawson.

The opening night spectacular kicks off at 7.30pm with a concert performance from JOEY ARIAS (SOLD OUT), a goddess of New York's downtown performance scene for over thirty years and a bona fide cabaret icon, performance and drag artist, whose numerous claims to fame include starring as the Mistress of Seduction in Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity". At 9pm comes incredible Voicebox curator and award-winning cabaret artist KIM SMITH reimagining Weimar-era composers such as Friedrich Hollaender and Kurt Weill alongside pop divas like Kylie Minogue. At 10.30pm, the night is topped off with the seductive, rugged voice of Australian music legend TEX PERKINS (SOLD OUT) teaming up with the majestic guitar of great CHARLIE OWEN for one late night of brooding rock and soothing ballads. Tex will perform his "Song for Tasmania", composed for the Festival of Voices 2014.

CEO Paul Kooperman said, "We're thrilled to present such a feast of talent for the Festival of Voices' opening night! What a way to open the Festival's 10th anniversary program as, across July, it transforms Hobart into a singing city, capturing the hearts of Australian music lovers."

Across the ten days of the festival, Voicebox's edgy, contemporary program features an array of unmissable, world-renowned artists including New York's riotous ERIN MARKEY, American operatic tenor WILL FERGUSON and Australia's genre-bending 'kamikaze cabaret' diva MEOW MEOW. They join other esteemed international stars of the festival such as Tennessee gospel great ERIC DOZIER, British choral conductor DAVID LAWRENCE, and from the US, the electric five-piece and contemporary a cappella champions THE EXCHANGE.

In 2014, the Festival continues to grow as it delivers a glorious program of over 143 performances and public events, including 53 pop-up concerts and – uniquely – workshops run by the artists, with a record of nearly 400 participants taking part in the Major Workshop Program. With ticket sales through the roof in 2014, the Festival welcomes over 165 choristers to its International Choral Program and expects at least 25,000 guests to attend.

Lord Mayor Alderman Damon Thomas said, "Hobart's winter experience sets us apart from any other city in Australia. The Festival of Voices is clearly here to stay as we join to celebrate its tenth anniversary. I am always delighted to see people in our community and visitors from overseas and interstate embrace our winter and engage in one of Australia's most inspirational festivals which helps make our city unique, vibrant and absolutely memorable".

The Festival of Voices unites a diverse pool of extraordinary vocalists from across Australia and the world to create a festival experience like no other, as Hobart comes alive with the sound of music, warming up the winter through the joyous power of song.