In its third outing, Bello Winter Music (6-9 July) was once again a sell-out success that saw thousands of patrons of all ages fill the halls, cafes, clubs and streets of the Mid North Coast town of Bellingen. Thirteen different venues within the town played host to a diverse line-up of more than 90 international, national and local musicians.
“The little secret that is Bello Winter Music has definitely got out and we’re thrilled that the festival has sold out again, with many patrons returning from previous years and bringing their friends and family with them,” said Festival Director Glenn Wright “We’d like to thank all the volunteers, the owners and management of the venues and the entire community of Bellingen who embrace the festival so wholeheartedly and make it special.”
International singer songwriters Joe Pug, Ben Ottewell and the stunning Courtney Marie Andrews kept capacity crowds enthralled while the packed crowd at Aotearoa dub and bass pioneers Salmonella Dub gave the sprung floor of the historic Bellingen Memorial Hall a good work out. Other highlights included Husky on opening night, Mama Kin Spender, Tinpan Orange, Bec Sandridge and our favourite Russian men’s choirDustyesky. Word on the street was buzzing about festival discoveries The Teskey Brothers, Ukulele Death Squad, Gold Member, Leah Senior and Radical Son. Youth Mentorship winners Ryan Kemp, Leah Besley, Akashya Leopold and sisters Nadia and Paloma Birch all proved they have rich musical lives ahead of them. Each gained many fans at the festival with their performances guided by their respective mentors Jack Carty, Ben Wilson, Sara Tindley and the Hussy Hicks.
Bellingen has much to be proud of with Festival Patron Jack Carty. His musical growth is impressive, his voice finding new places to soar. His latest collaborator, Gus Gardiner, brings double bass and cello to the mix providing the perfect accompaniment to Carty’s guitar, keys and brilliant song writing. Jack Carty was a constant, friendly presence at Bello Winter Music including at the Bread & Butter gig that saw different acts from the festival team up in a rolling roster of duets, much to the delight of a jam-packed audience. Carty, along with many musicians from the festival, also took part in the Street Parade on Sunday that had its debut at Bello Winter Music this year drawing hundreds of people out into the brilliant winter sunshine.
The Street Parade was just one of the outdoor activities that flowed throughout the streets and parks of Bellingen. Other delights The Magic Bus, roving street theatre and circus performances, markets, a live outdoor stage broadcast by local community radio station 2BBB fm, buskers and the many Bello LeaF Learning Festival environmental workshops and forums.