Well, the Winter Blues Festival at Echuca has just passed by. It’s a very popular festival, not least because a), it’s north from Geelong, so there is some likelihood that it might be warmer than here and b), it’s free!
Anyhow, once again I have missed out. I didn’t make it yet again, but this year I had a better excuse – the hospital staff didn’t think it was such a good idea…
So, having singularly missed out on getting to Echuca, the mind turns to more positive things, such as what festivals are coming up next. But first, let’s review why getting to a festival is such a good idea.
First, a disclaimer: the following is general advice, and may not apply to a specific festival, because it describes an activity which may not occur at that festival, or it is exaggerated for effect, or just completely wrong!
The biggest advantage of any music festival is “concentration”. Now, by that, I don’t mean that you have to concentrate, rather that with a festival there is a huge amount of music, artists and related activities concentrated into one space at one time. That being the case, even the festivals you pay for are dramatically cheap when you divide the number of acts into the price of a ticket. There’s also less wear and tear on the bootleather because you set up on site, and wander from stage to stage.
With such a concentration (see, said it again) of musicians, the odds of finding them in informal sessions is very high. The combination of musicians may never occur again, or they may be playing something unexpected … ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on a piano accordion… Of course, that memory could have had something to do with the concentration of alcohol in my bloodstream.
Festivals come in all sizes, places, costs and dates. You can usually make at least one or two a year without trying. Some are one day, some cover the whole of Easter. Some charge, some don’t. Sizes range from modest, such as our own Bluestone, through to completely unbelievable. Summerfest in Milwaukee attracts over a million festival goers! Don’t believe me? Ask one of Matthew Flinders’ Sweethearts – they just played there!
Blues festivals happen around the year, and around the country. You can usually find one in the right place at the right time, and now is the time to start looking for the summer festivals and booking in. So here’s a list of all the blues festivals which came to mind while writing this.
Great Southern Blues Festival, Narooma, 3-5 October 2014
Boomerang Festival, on Byron Bay festival site, 4-6 October 2014
Sydney Blues & Roots Festival, 24-26 October 2014
Wangaratta Jazz and Blues Festival, 31 October – 3 November 2014
Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival, 6-9 November 2014
Blues at Bridgetown Blues Festival, 7-9 November 2014
Bluestone Blues Festival, 31 December 2014 – 1 January 2015
Bruthen Blues & Arts Festival, 13-15 February 2015
Australian Blues Music Festival, Goulburn, 12-15 February 2015
Blue Mountains Music Festival of Folk, Roots and Blues, 13-15 March 2015
Forth Valley Blues Festival, Tasmania, March 2015
Myrniong Music Festival, March 2015
Deni Blues and Roots Festival, Easter 2015
Byron Bay Blues Festival, 2-6 April 2015
West Coast Blues ’n’ Roots Festival, April 2015
Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival, 21-24 May 2015
Winter Blues Festival, Echuca, 24-26 July 2015
Written by Dr John Lamp. Presented by The Sleepy Hollow Blues Club
Blues News [#592]