Music festival in tune with public

BALLINA man Col Groves liked country music icon Troy Cassar-Daley's strumming so much when he saw him perform that he bought his guitar.

The guitar, which was signed by Mr Cassar-Daley, was one of a number of items put up for auction on the final day of the three-day Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival.

"I've just started playing guitar and we saw him play on Saturday night so I said to Judy (Mrs Groves) I'm going to bid on his guitar," Mr Groves told The Northern Star yesterday.

After much spirited bidding Mr Groves of Ballina's Col Groves Electrics snapped up the instrument for $1300.

"I've just started playing guitar and wanted to put a bit back into the community and the country music fest," he said.

"It's one of those things you will keep as your pride and joy - and hopefully my guitar playing will improve."

Melbourne-based busker Jenny Biddle received her own mementos of the inaugural festival when she picked up two awards: the festival's busker award and the People's Choice Award.

"I was pretty shocked when I won both of them," she said.

"It was pretty shocking weather but I'm glad I drove up from Melbourne for it."

In the tradition of country music, her winning song A Chest of Drawers was about a string of failed relationships.

Festival founder and organiser Carol Stacey said the event had "exceeded all expectations" with about 5000 people turning up over the three days despite the cold weather.

"Country music has a family fun atmosphere," she said.

"We had four-year-olds dancing in the streets in front of jug bands with their grandmas sitting behind them tapping their toes.

"Everyone has said for a first-time festival it was more professionally run than any first-time festival they have attended."



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