Dorrigo moves toa bluegrass beat

By UTE SCHULENBERG

HAPPY musos, happy visitors and very happy festival organisers.

What a resounding success the third Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival on the weekend was.

Festival co-ordinator, Judy Mortlock, said this year the festival had come of age.

"The organisation has been more professional, our sound has been better and the performers have enjoyed themselves."

She said many people had gone to a lot of effort to make the town and the showgrounds look festive.

"There has been a great carnival atmosphere and our program was strong with a wonderful mix of instruments."

Musicians were indeed enjoying themselves.

Greg Bryce from Jigzag has been at the festival two years in a row.

"It's definitely more organised and there are a lot more people," Mr Bryce said.

"There are a lot of hobby musicians here, who have come along to meet other musicians, connect and play music together.

"It's a great feature and one of the things that will attract people.

"This festival has the potential to be a success and yet keep its charm and sweetness."

This is certainly what festival director, Jack Sommers, had in mind when he originally floated the idea of a bluegrass festival.

"This year has had a smashing roll-up but I don't want it to be too big," Mr Sommers said.

"Keeping it small means the festival cooks along and there is a great social atmosphere.

"The community has been great, with a lot of support from sponsors, local businesses and all the volunteers."

Festival treasurer, Caroline Brauhart, said not counting volunteers and free passes, upwards of 500 passes/tickets had been sold over the weekend.

"That's double last year," Ms Brauhart said.

By Sunday the mood was very mellow.

People were practising their new-found musical skills following various weekend workshops and groups of musicians were jamming into the afternoon.

Bellingen choir, The Spangled Drongos, was a great crowd pleaser late in the day and the opportunity for a final fling with funky folk band Jigzag had the floor quickly cleared for dancing.



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