The inaugural Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival laid it on in magnificent style, catering for music lovers of all ages and musical tastes, marking Bendigo as a premier musical city.
From Thursday’s launch party held at the Gold Dust Lounge, right through to Sunday evening, our city was ringing with glorious music, and while adhering to the blues and roots label, it encompassed a deliciously overwhelming array of musical styles.
Try this on for musical diversity: we experienced the rustic acoustic blues of Archer, Dave Diprose and Alawishus Jones, explosive hard edged rock and blues from the likes of the Black Aces, Jackson Firebird, the Andrew Higgs Band, Soundhole and the Vagrants, soul fans had their appetites sated by class acts, Josh Owen and Taylor Sheridan, while those seeking some exquisitely folk tinged material were treated to sublime performances from Alanna and Alicia Egan and Michelle Meehan.
Attracting big name acts on the blues and roots scene such as Geoff Achison, Lloyd Spiegel, Pete Cornelius and the Devilles, the Andrea Marr Band, Jungal, Nick Barker and Shaun Kirk was a mighty accomplishment for any festival in its first year, and speaks volumes for the faith that is being invested by elite performers in the future of Bendigo’s very own music festival.
While there was rain for Saturday’s show-piece concert in Rosalind Park, it did nothing to dampen the spirits of musical die-hards who rapturously enjoyed a seamlessly run event. Class acts, a great sound, lots of smiling faces and a genuine sense of communal energy saw the concert exceed all expectations.
For me, the real beauty of an event such as this is the breaking down of musical boundaries and live music being laid out for those that are unaware, or previously uninformed, as to what is so readily available to them.
It’s a beautiful thing to see fans of music styles far removed from the blues and roots scene attend gigs throughout the festival and rave excitably about new musical finds.
Personal highlights for this reviewer include Sweet Baby James and Rob Eyers from Adelaide, regular Bendigo visitor raucous Bones Blackwood, the gorgeous Alanna and Alicia Egan, Genevieve Chadwick, whose performance style is pure dynamite, that freakish force of nature Shaun Kirk and the incomparable queen of the blues, Andrea Marr.
Can’t wait to do it all again in November 2012!