Biggest blues festival a success for the city

The Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival wrapped up another successful year on Sunday night.

Eleven acts headed to the Metropolitan Hotel for the Big Blues Wrap-Up Bash on Sunday to celebrate the end of the festival.

BBRMF vice president and assistant director Amy Clark said as busy as the weekend was for the festival’s organisers and volunteers, it was worth it to see crowds enjoying the music.

“We love seeing everybody out having fun and enjoying themselves,” she said.

“This year felt like the biggest one we have done. I am always there early on Saturday and (Rosalind Park) was three-quarters full at 11am.

“So it was bigger than I have ever since it.”

The BBRMF was first launched in 2011 with a handful of acts.

Since then it has continued to grow with more than 160 acts playing across 50 venues from Thursday to Sunday.

Ms Clark said she believed word of mouth and the festival’s reputation kept crowds from near and far coming back to Bendigo.

“From what I heard, it felt like a large out of town community that came,” she said.

“Our treasurer met some people from Holland that had come for the festival and a lot of people came from Melbourne.

“We have got our feedback surveys out and will have a better idea of crowds when it comes back.”

While the festival finished on Sunday, BBRMF crew have spent the last two days packing everything up.

“We have got awesome committee helping out,” Ms Clark said.

“Every volunteer we have is always out there helping organise gear and banners.”

Ms Clark said the pack-up meant the committee got a chance to hear about the festival from the venues’ points-of-view.

“It’s not as hard at the end (to pack up) because it is a great chance to interact with the venues, get any feedback and positive vibes,” she said.

“Obviously it is hard to do it all but it’s enjoyable to catch up with everyone involved.”

City of Greater Bendigo manager of tourism and major events Terry Karamaloudis said full credit had to go to the BBRMF committee and its team of volunteers.

“We haven't had a full debrief with the organisers but from our observations the festival was really well received,” Mr Karamaloudis said. 

“Council must thank the hard working volunteer group that are part of that festival. They work tirelessly to present it, they put in huge hours for a big weekend.”

Mr Karamaloudis echoed Ms Clark’s comments that crowds seemed to be up with Rosalind Park packed out on Saturday afternoon.

“A number venues that we visited had numbers that were very good,” he said. “It was all very busy but, for me personally, the stage at Rosalind Park, was largest crowd I've seen for the festival.

“The organisers have done an amazing job to grow the festival what it is. I can only see it growing further and becoming a greater asset.”

The BBRMF committee will meet once more this year where initial planning for the 2018 event will take place.

Applications for performers then re-open in January meaning planning will get underway properly then.

“There is always between 400 ad 500 applicants and that is increasing every year. So our planning slows down but doesn’t really stop,” Ms Clark said.

“The line-up is always very consistent, no year is better than another.”

The first Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival Showcase of 2018 is set to be held in February.

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Got awesome committee helping, every voilutneer we have out there helpign get gear and banners