Local musician plans family-friendly event
IT’S the Sunday of the Labour Day weekend, the sun is out and people fill the lawn of Big Hill Winery.
Children play around the lawn, while adults enjoy 25 local and national acts over two stages with a craft beer in one hand and festival food in the other.
This is Bendigo’s newest festival, Rockin the Vines, the dream of local musician Steve Saxton.
Mr Saxton said he wanted to create a festival to showcase local music in a family-friendly vibe, in the vein of the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival and A Day On the Green.
There will also be several headline acts from around Australia, yet to be confirmed, and a ‘mystery act’ to close the festival.
Mr Saxton, lead singer of local band Berlin Postmark, said there were not many music venues around Bendigo which cater to families.
“As a band playing locally, all the bands roll around the same pubs and play to each other,” Mr Saxton said.
"I was frustrated.
“I thought, ‘We have to find a way to get these bands out’.
“This is a forum to promote local music and hopefully get people excited about it.”
It's taken about a year to secure the sponsorship needed to get the festival off the ground.
"There's been a lot of work in the background but we have some good sponsors on board now," he said.
Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival founder Colin Thompson suggested the venue.
“The idea of the event is for it to be a family event (and) Big Hill Winery seems like the perfect venue for it,” Mr Saxton said.
"Normally Labour Day weekend has good weather, but that's the one thing you can't plan for."
The festival will be having two showcase fundraiser events in the lead up to the March 9 festival.
Local musicians will play their favourite Paul Kelly songs at a music trivia day on Sunday, October 30 at the Golden Vine.
An all-day showcase event, also at the Vine, on November 24 will give a taste of what's on offer at the festival.
Mr Saxton hopes to build the festival over time.
“The first year we are trying and keep it small enough to manage and get off the ground, but big enough for people to leave having had a great day,” he said.
For more information see www.rockinthevines.com.