Wagga's cultural identity has been thrust into the spotlight after a Canberra commentator, who admits to knowing nothing about the city, branded residents "a rather conservative, unsophisticated flock".
Columnist Ian Warden used the analogy "we're living in a kind of Wagga" to describe the disappointment he felt after the Canberra Symphony Orchestra released its concert program for 2013, which he says is conservative and "rather depressing".
"Lots of the selected works are the sorts of things you'd find on one of those four-CD sets of Classical Greatest Hits for Bogans, for people who don't know much about classical music but who know what they like," Mr Warden wrote.
Later, Mr Warden admitted he knew nothing about Wagga when questioned about his comparison. Wagga City Council tourism manager Sally Nolan suggested Mr Warden "make a trip to Wagga to see the vibe that surrounds us”.
On the eve of the Jazz Festival, Ms Nolan said 'unsophisticated' is not a how she would describe the culture and attitude of the city.
“I look at what Wagga was like 10 to 15 years ago and the city has grown and matured, more than anything else people are very proud of it,” Ms Nolan said.
With the five new shows set down at the Civic Theatre, seven exhibitions due to arrive at the city's galleries and a host of markets and community events in coming weeks, Ms Nolan said the city is “oozing with culture”.
“Visitors to the gallery and museums are quite high,” she said.
Reflecting on his column, Mr Warden said his readers would be familiar with the tongue-in-cheek comparisons to depict the difference between country and city.