Holding the prizes are Ramada manager Ben Dargie, Ballina Byron Gateway Airport security supervisor Kylie Linton-France and Alan Tunks.
Holding the prizes are Ramada manager Ben Dargie, Ballina Byron Gateway Airport security supervisor Kylie Linton-France and Alan Tunks. Barry Cheadle

You could win enough guitars to start a band

THEY'RE worth several thousand dollars now, but by the time Bluesfest ends, they'll be worth a small fortune.

They're three Gibson "Les Paul" electric guitars, and they're this year's prizes in the Cystic Fibrosis Fundraising Raffle held each year at Byron Bay's Bluesfest.

The guitars for first prize - a Les Paul Jnr Classic model - and second prize - a baked maple fingerboard model - will be signed by many of the artists performing at Bluesfest.

And with music luminaries such as Paul Simon, Robert Plant, Ben Harper, Chris Isaak and Carlos Santana among the likely signatories, raffle co-ordinators Alan and Jenny Tunks believe the guitars will become prized collectibles worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Alan and Jenny have a son with cystic fibrosis and began fundraising for the disease many years ago, raising about $50 through a lamington stall in Ballina.

From lamingtons, their fundraising drives have morphed into guitars, Bluesfest and music stars, and last year's raffle at Bluesfest raised $43,000.

With the guitars having arrived in Ballina from the Gibson Guitars Nashville factory, they will be put on display at the Ramada Hotel and Suites on Friday and Saturday from 4-8pm and on Sunday from 3-6pm and again at the same times a week later the following weekend.

Alan said those displays would allow people who could not make it to Bluesfest to buy tickets, which cost $5 each or three for $10.

To help kick off the fundraiser, Alan had the guitars at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport last week, displaying them to Ramada manager Ben Dargie and airport security supervisor Kylie Linton-France.

Volunteers will be selling tickets at Bluesfest, with the winner being drawn on April 1.



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