Docklands Blues Music Festival

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Docklands Blues Music Festival

The Docklands Blues Music Festival will be once again firing up the Melbourne blues music scene with its exciting line-up of over 15 bands on three indoor/outdoor stages, which includes the likes of Geoff Achison, Andrea Marr & The Funky Hitmen, Dreamboogie, Dan Dinnen, Sweet Felicia & The Tradies, Key Grip, Isaiah B Brunt, Sugar Bowl Hokum, John McNamara, Limelight, Dog Gone South ft. Eddy Boyle, Hurricane Hearn, Mick Kid & Dave Blight, the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society and Youth In Blues, Lazy Eye, Charlie Bedford, the Elwood Blues Club All-Stars & Toni Swain, and to add the cherry on top of a fantastic line-up, Canadian blues musician Mark Green will be headlining the festival.

Produced by Wonderland Entertainment and Leisure under the events division ‘Knockout Events’, the Docklands Blues Music Festival will also contain carnival rides, a Wonderland Sweet Treats café and Blues food truck, and family-friendly events. “It’s a free event, which is very rare for a music festival, and there’s free music running from 10am until 10pm all day,” says Melissa, the festival director.

“It’s really cool because everybody can move around the different stages and we’ve got food trucks. It’s got a good family vibe and also a good party vibe.”

Melissa expands on the festival’s background and how it was created: “It came about when I was booking some bands; it was actually Dreamboogie, and then yeah we got our heads together and said ‘why don’t we do a music festival.’

“We did it one year and it went from there and I’ve had funding from City of Melbourne for a couple of years and built it up further and then it’s back to us this year.”

The Docklands Blues Music Festival was originally conceptualised as a visitor attraction, in order to draw people to the Docklands.

“We have people staying there and playing and you know it’s really a tool as a visitor attraction, visiting Docklands, Spiegeltent specifically since we own and run it. It’s to draw people to the Spiegeltent,” Melissa says.

The process of selecting the bands that will play in the festival this year was different to the festival’s previous years: “This particular year we’re introducing a lot of interstate bands and bands that people haven’t seen before, and also the feature headliner Mark Green. It’s predominantly a local festival, so we use a lot of local acts, but this year we’re introducing quite a few interstate acts,” Melissa says.

She continues: “Back to the line-up, we’re adding a lot of brass this year and then the headliner act Mark Green from Canada is pretty awesome, so there’s a good mix of acts that everyone will love.”

As a festival producer, Melissa has witnessed the blues music scene grow and develop significantly over the years.

“It’s quite a mainstream genre of music that’s loved by everyone, since there’s the other major festivals like the Byron Bay Blues Music Festival and Broadbeach, so I would say it’s built up into mainstream music. I see a big demand for blues music and a big market for it.”

As for her favourite acts in the festival, Melissa is looking forward to witnessing a couple of the interstate acts, along with Mark Green. “Also, Geoff Achison just come back from a tour overseas, and he’s pretty amazing. And I want to see Andrea Marr & The Funky Hitmen.” She says.

Melissa then elaborates on her future goals for the festival: “The festival came about as a visitor attraction, so my future plans for it are to find a sponsor partner to take it to the next level and turn it into a two-day free event. This year is a one-day event.

“It’s a real party, it’s so much fun. The vibe’s awesome with the carnival and the amusement rides. People are dancing, it’s fabulous.”

Written by Christine Tsimbis

When & Where: The Docklands Blues Music Festival will run on Sunday October 16 at the Wonderland Spiegeltent under the Melbourne Star.