Are you keen on celebrating your New Year’s Eve by having some beers and listening to some great live music, but camping for three days with thousands of 20 year olds doesn’t seem like a great time? Don’t stress, The Bluestone Blues Festival (held 20km out of Geelong) has you covered.
The family friendly festival held by Geelong’s own Sleepy Hollow Blues Club is now going into its 21st year, and shows no signs of slowing down.
According to the festivals director Andy Rubans, “it’s coming of age”.
“It’s now been going for 21 years. It was started in 1996 by a group of musicians mainly to stay in their hometown, rather than going interstate and all over Victoria, because there were a lot of blues bands from Geelong. So they decided in their great wisdom to start the Bluestone Blues Festival,” he says.
Andy admires the festival’s good-natured punters, who aim to provide a community atmosphere free of anti-social behavior.
“The beauty of it is that it is completely run by volunteers. Just people with a genuine passion for the music and for creating an atmosphere for a family day out. We get people who come from Melbourne and inter-state for the festival. Because it’s not a huge festival in terms of numbers of attendees, it’s unique that people keep coming back. It’s like a meeting place for people who haven’t seen each other for 12 months.”
With this years line-up being filled with names such as Geoff Achison and The Soul Diggers, The Chris Wilson Band and The Lounge Lizards, there is no doubt that some high quality blues will be delivered to punters lucky enough to attend.
However, the festival also still largely bases their line-up around local blues bands, but that doesn’t take away any credibility from the acts performing.
As best said by Andy, “our commitment is to local bands, providing they are up to the level that is acceptable for paying audiences. We take pride in the quality of bands that we present.”
With this years event looming, Andy couldn’t be more excited.
“I’m pretty proud of the fact that we are still operating. This 21st year is a combination of all the people who started the festival, and all the people who have kept it going over the years. It’s all-voluntary and it’s just the passion of the people. We have never had any issues with anti-social behavior and I think it’s a pat on the back to the people who have kept it going.
“When it first started the thought was, ‘well if it goes for two to three years, we will be rapt. Never in a million years did we think it would go for 21 years.”
Written by Alex Callan
When & Where: Bluestone Blues Festival @ Murgheboluc Reserve, Murgheboluc (20km west of Geelong) – December 31 2016 – January 1 2017.
For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit the website.