See you in a few weeks!

See you in a few weeks!

It’s only a few weekends until the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival takes over the city.

Now in its sixth year (sixth! how did that happen?), we’re going to see 170 artists play at 40-odd venues over the first weekend in November.

There’ll be some be some familiar faces, like the inimitable Greg Dodd and the Hoodoo Men, whose Movin’ On album was my favourite blues album of 2015. Nearly half of this year’s performers though, will be playing their first BB&RMF. Nashville’s Travis Bowlin is one. “I’m really excited to be heading that way ,” he says.

Bowlin’s career is starting to take off. Three singles – Bad Bad Man, Got the Goods, and See You Again – have been well-received by critics and fans. When not playing or writing music, he recycles things to make instruments – cigar box guitars, percussion instruments and more – he’s now made over 100.

Musicman was a hive of activity last weekend with dozens of bands and hundreds of punters turning out over four nights. Early indicators are that the GoFundMe campaign and support that culminated in the Do Or Die festival might just be enough to keep Musicman alive. Venue owner Paul Tzountzourkas is expected to confirm the position over the next few days.

The goodwill around Musicman has been palpable – not only from regular bands and punters. The John Grossman Project played two gigs there in a week in a show of solidarity – the only times they have played there. Sunny D, drummer with Melbourne-based acoustic-punk trio Kat O and the Collectables, said after their Saturday night set, “when we heard Musicman was in trouble we just knew we had to play here to help out. It’s a great venue.”