Few music festivals can say they’ve ushered in good tunes for two decades, but this year the Bluestone Music Festival is able to do just that. Presented by the Sleepy Hollow Blues Club over the New Year’s break, acclaimed blues musician Brian Fraser has seen the festival develop since day dot, and the Bluestone Foundation Artist is coming back to perform this year.
“My mother and father were involved in the committee for the original festival which was 20 years ago. And we were involved quite heavily for a long time there; mostly myself in the past years,” he explains. “When it first started we wouldn’t have believed it’d still be going in 20 years time – which is has been. So it’s a special icon for us.”
With this year’s line up including Miss Whiskey, Mud Peas and the Andrea Marr Band, it is an opportunity for blues loving locals to set up camp and bring in 2016 with a fitting celebration.
“It’s grown up into a really great little festival…it’s been at the same venue now for the last five or six years. It’s really established itself as a New Year’s Eve festival for the Geelong region, which is fantastic,” Fraser shares.
Performing on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Fraser is excited to bring some of his solo work to the stage. However, he will be mixing it up a little.
“I’ll be doing a show with a harmonic player who I played with in a band called Turning Blue. We were one of the first band’s to play at the original Bluestone…And there’ll be a lot of finger picking stuff, and a lot of stuff that you know, I’m at the Blues Train regularly, so obviously I’ll be doing a lot of the Blues Train set as well. So yeah, a lot of good time music,” he says.
The harmonic player Brian mentions is Dave the Bastard, and he laughs as he talks about their set together. “When you’re playing with Dave there’s lots of different dynamics! But no, it’s a lot of fun. I mean, we do shows from my solo set, but they’re a little bit beefed up I guess. And Dave certainly adds personality to the song. So it takes it to a bit of a different place.”
It’s fair to say that Fraser loves blues music. Not only has he been performing it for decades, but it has been in his blood since childhood. “From a really early age I was listening to music that could have been called blues music. Back then in the 60’s, popular music was really blues music, so I guess I grew up with that,” he shares. “I played music for a long time…and went and got a blues band together…so I just love the music, and it’s a great scene as well.”
More than just your average festival, when you talk to Brian about Bluestone, there is a real sense that this is family. Not just for him, but for many locals as well. “It’s going to be a great festival again with a lot of good music out at Murgheboluc. It’s a two-day festival, and people, if they happen to come across us, ought to have a look at it. It’s a great music festival and has been for a long time. And hopefully it will be into the future as well.”