THE 2017 Echuca-Moama Winter Blues Festival has arrived.
And the 18th annual event is heating up to be the biggest yet.
Organiser Peter Williams said the festival has more venues and more artists.
‘‘We always aim for it to be a friendly, relaxed and free event and we have worked very hard at making this year’s event better than ever,’’ he said.
‘‘What that means is that people will see some of the best blues musicians in the country.
‘‘This year we have 54 across the four days from all across the country.
‘‘I don’t think you will find this anywhere else in Australia — this many blues musicians in such close proximity.’’
The festival kicked off last night with The Teskey Brothers, Toni Swain, The Detonators, Trivia with a Blues Theme, Geoff Achison and Claude Hay.
But Mr Williams said the biggest question is; can you fit enough in?
‘‘There is so much going on and that is the thing I enjoy the most, being out on the street and seeing people enjoying live music,’’ he said.
‘‘We are confident this will be the biggest one yet.
‘‘With most of the accommodation in town booked out and some moving into Rochester and Kyabram just to get somewhere to stay.’’
Although most of the estimated 15,000 visitors have already descended on the twin towns Mr Williams said it is as much about the locals.
‘‘We do it to drive visitors and business to town in what is normally a very quiet time of year,’’ he said.
‘‘We see people eating in our cafes and restaurants and staying in our hotels.
‘‘But it is run by local volunteers and we hope to see as many locals out as possible to enjoy what the festival has to offer.’’
But it isn’t just the adult blues fans who are set to enjoy the weekend, the annual Blues Bootcamp kicked off yesterday.
‘‘We had 42 kids take part this year, which is a great number, from all across the country,’’ Mr Williams said.
‘‘The ability to express yourself in a positive and creative way in society is sometimes difficult with fewer outlets for young people to express the frustrations of modern life.
‘‘Blues Bootcamp is a fun and challenging highly interactive workshop, where participants gain both theoretical and practical music industry skills from trained and experienced music industry professionals and apply all that at a public concert.’’
The concert kicks off at 7pm tonight at Radcliffe’s.
A full list of bands and venues can be found at winterblues.com.au or follow them on Facebook.