Director of Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival director Colin Thompson recognised with tourism award

A man instrumental to the local music scene says a new award is both an honour and recognition of a volunteer team’s work to shape Bendigo’s culture and community.

Colin Thompson was on Monday night awarded the Kathryn Mackenzie Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to Bendigo’s Tourism Industry at Bendigo Tourism’s AGM.

The Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival director said his team’s initial goal was to put the city back on the map as a live music town.

“We're not the only contributors to that ongoing outcome, but there's still plenty of work to be done,” Mr Thompson said.

“The minute you sit on your laurels and take the renewed support for live music in our city for granted is when it will likely wither away again.”

Mr Thompson’s proudest achievement was was the sense of community the team had built around the festival’s brand and ideals.

“We have an incredibly inclusive and welcoming crew and that's reflected in everything we do,” he said. 

“The fact so many businesses want to be host venues and partner with us, not just during festival weekend but at other times of the year, is also a sign that we're doing right by everyone involved.”

Australian and international artists were clamouring to play the festival, Mr Thompson said, then advocating for the city as an arts and music hub.

“I guess there's lots for us to be proud of, when all is said and done,” he said.

The award was named after Katheryn Mackenzie, the former executive tourism manager at the City of Greater Bendigo.

“She has given so much to Bendigo over the last 20 years or more,” Mr Thompson said.

Bendigo Tourism board chairperson Kathie Bolitho described Ms Mackenzie’s work as “stellar”.

Ms Mackenzie was now CEO at Echuca-Moama Tourism and Bendigo Tourism wanted to recognise her devotion to the industry both during her working week and on her personal time.

“The board felt it was important to celebrate Kathryn’s contribution ... and in turn honour others who are dedicated to our industry,” Ms Bolitho said.