Ahead of the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival’s Winter Showcase on July
16, Queensland singer-songwriter Tasha Zappala explains why she keeps
coming back to the city.

Briefly describe your music and your musical journey so far
I started playing guitar when I was about eight, then singing, travelling and performing for the last five years. I went to South America twice, Europe, the UK, New Zealand and just keep doing laps of Australia.

What has been your involvement with the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival in the past?
I have performed at Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival for the last two years and feel privileged to be returning for a third year.

What are your thoughts about the playing the fundraiser?
The fundraiser is an excellent idea as it allows the community to be enthusiastic about the festival prior to the event. It allows the city to connect with the musicians and follow their journey and the Blues & Roots creation in the lead-up to the November weekend. It contributes to building an interest and involvement in the arts that spans more than a few days, and in the long-term works towards a more integrated, creative and more open minded community.

How important are regional festivals like BB&RMF – for musicians, audiences and

Growing up in regional North Queensland, I relished festivals similar to Bendigo Blues &
Roots. In a geographical sense, regional festivals are especially important in Australia
because we are so far away from each other and the rest of the world. They create an
environment that allows the community to let go of social barriers and make lasting
connections with each other, artists and the unexpected.

It takes people on a journey that allows them to be inspired, step outside of the everyday and to discover unknown possibilities. It gives people the freedom to be more of who they want to be, and to be accepting and supportive of others as they do the same.

Life-long face-to-face connections between the audience and musicians have such immense
benefits to everyone; they allow the musician to feel supported and appreciated, and the
audiences to feel open and inspired. Both parties leave with memories, fresh perspectives and a larger community.

Any final thoughts on anything music or festival-related?
Bendigo Blues & Roots is unique on the festival circuit within Australia as it follows a similar layout to the Fringe Festivals around the world. By having a festival mostly within existing venues I feel as though you are able to support and promote local businesses and it contributes to a more sustainable interest in the arts.

People can return to those venues to see live music throughout the year, and it allows the local businesses to showcase what they have to offer to an audience that has a more
receptive attitude. I believe festivals that follow this layout really contribute to year-round thriving arts and music scenes in their city.

Joining Zappala at the Winter Fundraiser will be: The Deans of Soul, Catfish Voodoo, Nardia Rose Band, Matt Katsis, Kelly Brouhaha, Cameron James Henderson, The Barren Spinsters, Tim Hulsman, Wayne Jury, Savannah Rose, William Alexander, Bill Barber & The Revelators, Dave Diprose, Mariah McCarthy and Mr Wilby & Me.

Tickets are available at the door on the day and are $15 for adults, $5 for under-18s (with under-12s free). Friends of the Festival (FOF Members) enter free – but a FOF card must be presented.

The live music will start at 12pm and continue through till 8pm at the Golden Vine Hotel, 135 King Street, Bendigo.

Hear more of Tasha Zappala’s music at: https://tashazappala.bandcamp.com/ or
soundcloud.com/tashazappala or follow her at: www.facebook.com/tashazappaladotcom
Now in its seventh year, the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival continues to go from strength to strength. The Festival is still solely run by a dedicated group of local volunteers. With a line-up of local, national and international artists, there is always plenty to see and hear – from talented newcomers to genre stalwarts who have been refining their sound over many years.