Forte’s Guide to the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival 2019

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Forte’s Guide to the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival 2019

The countdown is on for the festival that sees the humble town of Bendigo embrace upwards of 20,000 music lovers, with the ninth annual Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival this November 7 – 10.

Proudly supported by Visit Victoria and City of Greater Bendigo, the annual festival is a predominantly free, grass-roots, community event that gives music fans and community members the opportunity to enjoy world-class music, with a focus on local and independent talent from the blues and roots genres.

Now in its ninth year the festival has become synonymous with creating a warm, friendly and artistic vibe amongst patrons, strolling along the street from venue to venue, hearing music from all directions and having so many options, and such amazing talent. This sense of ‘community’ has also evolved between musicians, some of which have played almost every year and others that may have never been to Bendigo before. This is what makes this festival so great, really… it’s a Bendigo thing.

If you are travelling by car, Bendigo is a comfortable two and a half hours north of Geelong, just around two hours north-west if you’re coming from Melbourne, and an easy 90 minutes if you’re coming from Ballarat. With an easy drive down the highway, Bendigo is perfect for rounding up the crew and making it a roadtrip. Just remember to prepare the pump-up playlist before you go.

It’s also pretty easy to catch the train to Bendigo – the V/Line express service is just over 90 minutes from Melbourne Southern Cross Station, and the Bendigo Railway Station is just a few minutes walk into the city centre. Just hit up the V/Line website find out information on departure times.

If you’re travelling from out of state, direct flights to Bendigo are available from Sydney via Qantas. For all your accommodation requirements check out the “Where to Stay” page at

The four-day event will again be filled with performances and workshops – by more than 130 artists from all over Australia (as well as some internationals) – conducted in over 40 venues throughout Bendigo and some surrounding areas.

With a treasure trove of discovery, some worthy mentions include 18 year old blues artist Charlie Bedford, The Rosie Burgess Trio, funky blues man Buddy Knox and his Blues Band, Melbourne soul, funk, and blues band Rambal (formerly known as Justin Yap Band), Melbourne Blues institution Blues Roulette, soulful blues duo The McNaMarr Project, Rushworth troubadour Grim Fawkner, the two man blues roots juggernaut from New Zealand Swamp Thing, and Tennyson King, a Chinese Canadian international touring musician that plays alternative folk rock music.

Regardless of your musical persuasions, the line-up clearly spans a number of genres including everything from blues, jazz, funk, folk, to indie, with some artists performing the festival before, and others making their Bendigo debut.

A highlight will, of course, be at the magnificent Ulumbarra Theatre on Saturday night featuring WA stalwarts, The Waifs, while Friday night will come alive with Australia’s own John Butler. Tickets for these headline shows are available now at

The team are still in the process of delivering a complete stellar line-up, so for updates head to the website!

Photo by Jarrad Sengwww

Photo by Jarrad Sengwww

A highlight of the festival is Saturday’s all-day, family-friendly concert in Rosalind Park in the heart of Bendigo’s CBD. Here, sixteen acts will grace two stages from late morning, and punters are encouraged to bring along a picnic rug and chairs and enjoy a day lazing in the sun under the leafy 120 year old trees while discovering your new favourite artist. Great food, local wine, beer and cider are all available to purchase on site too so once you have your spot of the grass, you’ll be set for the rest of the day.

There’s a unique way to enjoy live music again this year as part of the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival and that is aboard The Blues Tram. Combining two of Bendigo’s best attractions – its historic trams and sublime musical talent – this is the perfect way to mix up the weekend activities. Kicking off at the Central Deborah Goldmine, the tram takes its audience through the heart of Bendigo, featuring up close and personal performances from an array of performers across the weekend. After taking a pit stop at the Joss House, the tram then turns back towards the mine.

Tickets are available from the Bendigo Visitor Centre or online at for just $39.


The best part about this festival is that it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to indulge in all the musical delights! While there are a select few ticketed events, most venues across the weekend are free including the aforementioned all-day, family-friendly, non-stop concert in Rosalind Park.

For more information and updates on the latest music gigs leading up to and across the festival weekend, jump onto the website at