Now that the dust has settled on the highly successful Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival for 2012, we have been busily planning out the rest of 2013 (and beyond).
Things are already looking promising with Andrew Higgs and Dave Diprose having played to a packed Australia Day Blues Tram while music fans enjoyed a healthy supply of Two Birds craft beer, courtesy of our festival partner and social lubricant innovators Bendigo Beer. A great day was had by all that rode the rails for our first Blues Tram of 2013 and the next one will roll on Easter Saturday from 7pm (departing from Central Deborah Goldmine, 76 Violet Street, Bendigo) with Alawishus Jones and Damien Neil performing.
If you haven’t been on board already then please avail yourself of the opportunity to do so; not only is it an important fundraiser for the festival, it’s a truly unique experience that you’ll be telling your friends about long after the ride is over.
Speaking of fundraisers, our first showcase event for 2013 was a resounding success in February at the Golden Vine Hotel, with around 400 people coming through on the day to sample the talents of the many musicians and bands (both local and visiting), who combined to put on a magnificent show.
Our two youngest performers 14-year-old Pat Ward and 15-year-old Ella Spizzica wowed the crowds, along with veterans of the Bendigo music scene Jimmy Williams, and Skip (with his band The Lost Heart Sirens) just to mention a few. Melbourne-based Josh Owen and Bones Blackwood again showed why they are festival favourites.
Festival director Colin Thompson has been busy at his now infamous whiteboard, already organising the line-up for the November festival and our hard working committee is planning many ways to make 2013’s another exceptional event. A huge thanks needs to go to our small but ever reliable team of volunteers who unselfishly give their time to make the festival and supporting events happen.
Our next Showcase is a family day at Big Hill Vineyard and will feature 11 sensational acts from 12pm on Sunday April 14th. There will be another Showcase event on May 26th at the Rifle Brigade Hotel, we’ll be back at the Goldmines Hotel for our annual ‘Ewes, Brews, Stews & Blues’ event on Sunday July 21st. Our next couple of Blues Trams will feature none other than the mighty Lloyd Spiegel (Saturday May 25th) and then Austrlia’s patron saint of the Blues: Geoff Achison, along with the incredible Josh Owen (Saturday June 29th). Tickets, as always, are available from Bendigo Visitor Centre or online at Bendigo Tourism’s website.
Another new initiative for us this year is ‘Friends of the Festival’ and is an opportunity for you to become more involved, so jump onto our website (www.bendigoblues.com.au) for more details on how you can financially support our festival and get some genuine value for yourself at the same time. I must say it was fantastic to see the younger people (says I at the age of 66) attending both the Australia Day Blues Tram and our February showcase event. We are all about encouraging, and providing opportunities for, the talents of our local and upcoming musicians, and as evidenced by the performances and personalities of Pat and Cassie Ward, Ella Spizzica (and others), I believe our musical heritage is in very safe hands. Thank you for your ongoing support. Drop us a line, say G’day and tell us what you think. We value your feedback.
Julius “Dr J” Porlais is the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival’s treasurer and official Master of Ceremonies.