Bruthen Arts & Music Festival: The biggest little blues festival

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Bruthen Arts & Music Festival: The biggest little blues festival

The Bruthen Blues & Arts Festival boasts itself on creating a massive, yet intimate community event. Held on the third weekend in February, festival chairperson Eva Grunden says the intimacy of this volunteer run festival is what sets it apart, and is the reason is it still continuing 22 years later.

“That’s what people love. They can go to lots of places around Australia to really big festivals, and what they like about Bruthen is that it is intimate, it’s different and it has family friendly activities,” Eva says.
Festivities kick off Friday night at the Bruthen Inn Hotel for the Friday Night Jam, where visitors can relax to musical performances, with performers having the chance to win a range of prizes which Eva says is a great way to “blur the line between coming to just watch a festival and actually participating in it.”

Bringing some of the best blues acts to the intimate setting in Bruthen, the line-up includes the likes of James Southwell Band featuring Charlie Wooton and Chris Wilson, Chase The Sun, Lachy Doley Band and Mike Elrington – among others.

Along with music, Saturday will see the streets overflow with market stalls, food, drinks, kid’s activities, and free workshops to keep guests entertained.

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In an attempt to further distinguish itself from other blues festivals, Eva says they have included the arts component to appeal to an audience broader than just blues music fans and engage the wider community.
This sees the inclusion of the Walk Your Blues Away event for the second time, following its success last year, as a way to raise awareness around positive mental health. Those taking part in the event will be taken on a slow paced, short journey of the rail trail filled with original blues music, interesting characters, a choir, poetry and more from a range of different artists.

“There’s a major focus on mental health so the artists are performing something around that theme. It might be comic and fun and uplifting, or it might be songs about artists own experiences with mental health issues.”

The second major arts focused feature is creating a Priscilla Queen of the Desert themed interactive instalment, using one of the original buses from the 1994 film, now owned by a resident of Bruthen.

“We are parking the bus in the street of Bruthen and people can go into the bus, they will be given a cocktail, they will choose a frock and a wig, and they will get some help from make-up artists and they will come out of the bus all frocked up Priscilla style.”

“It’s kind of a bit about celebrating diversity. It links in with the walk your blues away theme as well because it’s about celebrating diversity in a community that embraces and accepts it. We are hoping there will be a few burly bearded beer drinking blues blokes that will go into the bus and come out of the bus for fun.”

The highlight on Sunday comes with the closing event of the ‘Sunday Recovery’ at the Bruthen Inn Hotel with Geoff Achison headlining, set to be the perfect end to the weekend.

“A lot of people come to it every year because it is small and it is intimate. We can only go as big as we are now and people love it.”

Written by Talia Rinaldo

When & Where: Various locations, Bruthen – February 17 – 19 2017
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