Bluesfest recognised as Australia?s best
By TABATHA FULKER and MEGAN KINNINMENT
PETER NOBLE was feeling pretty green yesterday.
The East Coast International Blues and Roots Festival was awarded Best Contemporary Music Festival at the Helpmann Awards in Sydney on Monday night, and festival promoter Noble was there to celebrate and carry the award home.
"We beat the Big Day Out and Womadelaide," Noble said back in Byron Shire yesterday, eyes shaded from the sun.
"It's big. And it's the first time a regional festival has won a Helpmann."
Recognising excellence in Australia's live performing arts, the Helpmann Awards are acknowledged among industry peers.
And our man of blues is tickled pink at the honour.
"Peter Garrett came up to me at the awards and said: 'If I ever decide to get back in Midnight Oil, the only Australian festival I will play is yours'," Noble enthused.
"I want us to see this and recognise the win for what it is.
"The Northern Rivers is the regional arts capital of Australia.
"We had 30,000 people at the Writers Festival over the weekend, rivalling Melbourne's event.
"A couple of weeks ago Splendour represented the young.
"We've all got to get on the same page and welcome cultural tourists into our towns."
It appears Byron Shire Council agrees with Noble's vision of artistic economy.
Council granted the Blues and Roots Festival with a positive report card at their annual review of the event yesterday.
The staff have recommended to councillors that the event be allowed to continue at the Red Devils football ground, describing the 2005 festival as the best ever.