Great vibes in the park
ALTHOUGH the streets were bare around central Wangaratta over the weekend it was a different story at Merriwa Park with the free stage of the jazz and blues festival working well to build on the blues vibe.
It was the first time the blues and free stage both took occupancy of the park, and indoor venues along Ford Street were also well attended.
Musical programmer and renowned musician Adam Simmons said “it’s been great and a win” with “much greater cohesion” at the consolidated venue of Merriwa Park.
The park was such a hit last year the programming team decided to make it the prime venue allowing all streets in Wangaratta to remain open throughout the weekend – a set up very different to previous years.
“Numbers seemed greater than last year with ticket sales up as of Friday, the venues were fuller and everyone was relaxed and having a ball,” he said.
“For two years people have been telling us they want fresh experiences and new music – they’re up for it.
“It was good that local and regional musicians were visible at the Merriwa Park venue as artists in the past have given feedback that it’s extremely hard to get a gig at the festival.
“St Pat’s church offered patrons a free taste of the music and the hall had a licensed venue this year and there was a good vibe at the packed house.”
While Mr Simmons admitted that it has been tough since the former event management team resigned he said next year’s 30th anniversary will be something to look forward to.
“We will really look to attract more international artists next year and the artistic team will look back at the history of the festival.”
With the festival moving off the streets in 2018, the programming team will be extra keen to get feedback from those who attended and what they liked and disliked about this year’s event.
BEAUTIFUL BLUES: Anna Scionti and her guitar got the Blues Marquee rocking on Saturday morning.
RELAXING IN THE PARK: There was plenty of shade and great places to relax in Merriwa Park, which delighted Wangaratta residents (from left) Anna and Sophie Paton.
MAGICAL MARKET: There was a constant stream of people meandering through the stalls with their wide variety of offerings at yesterday’s Sunday Market in Merriwa Park.
COMMUNITY BEAT: Boweya Blues Revival were among the dozen or so bands to entertain the crowd at the Wangaratta Motor Group Community Stage across the weekend.
PARK TUNES: The Vincent Road Band welcomed patrons as they made their way into Merriwa Park on Saturday.