Goulburn's Blues Festival deserves business injection |Editorial February 12, 2018

Pearl Long performing with Lemon Squeezin' Daddies at The Bowlo on Saturday night. Photo: Louise Thrower.
Pearl Long performing with Lemon Squeezin' Daddies at The Bowlo on Saturday night. Photo: Louise Thrower.

Once again, promoter Geoff Bell has pulled off a coup for Goulburn.

The 22nd Australian Blues Music Festival on the weekend was a resounding success with thousands flocking to the city for a feast of quality performances.

They wore colourful shirts, funny hats, represented Blues Societies and added wonderfully to a happy, buzzy atmosphere.

Economically, it’s difficult to gauge the monetary injection into the city as it’s a free event. But judging by “bums on seats,” Mr Bell said crowds were on par if not better than last year.

Pubs, clubs, restaurants and accommodation were packed. But wandering Auburn Street on Saturday night, one local noted that very few shopfronts promoted the event. This aspect also wasn’t lost on artist Geoff Achison who told The Post that the best music events were those supported by the community.

Local business reaps a strong dividend from the weekend but does little in terms of sponsorship of the event or welcoming visitors to town. Even a decorated shopfront would be a nice gesture.

On a limited $50,000 budget supplied by the council, Mr Bell’s company, Laing Entertainment, also foots accommodation expenses for bands. Surely there’s opportunity for some of these providers to help out with sponsorship, recognising the return they receive. On the weekend, most accommodation was full, also catering for the indoor hockey championships at the Veolia Arena.

The festival is run “on the smell of an oily rag.” Mr Bell is not complaining about the council’s contribution but says more funding will always be welcome. It is notoriously difficult to raise this from the corporate sector or state and federal grants. 

So isn’t it time we all started appreciating this wonderful festival a little more and not taking the windfall for granted?

Meantime, our congratulations go to Mr Bell for another wonderful festival and top quality entertainment.

Missing the target

Government departments can virtually do what they like when it comes to projects “in the national interest.”

But something is surely wrong when not even residents heavily affected by the proposed live fire centre near Collector can view the plans. On this proposal, Defence needs to play by the planning rules.

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