Regional Arts NSW
Skip to content

Bello Winter Music 2018 Wraps Up a Sell-Out Success

In its fourth outing, Bello Winter Music (12-15 July) was once again a sell-out success that saw thousands of patrons fill the halls, cafes, clubs and streets of the picturesque Mid North Coast town of Bellingen. Thirteen different venues within the town played host to a diverse line-up of more than 80 international, national and local musicians. As well as more than 250 individual performances there was a New Orleans style street parade, a mini environmental program called Bello LeaF, pop-up marketplaces, workshops, street performances and free rides on the legendary Magic Bus.
“We’re thrilled with the sell-out success of Bello Winter Music again this year,” said Festival Director Glenn Wright. “The beauty of Bello is that it still feels intimate and friendly, like a big family get together with all your favourite people and a really good soundtrack. This is due in no small part to the exciting mix of artists but also all the volunteers, the owners and management of the venues and the entire community of Bellingen who embrace the festival so wholeheartedly and make it special.”
Z-Star Trinity blew Bello minds with their high energy driving rock, drawing capacity crowds at multiple performances over the weekend. Z-Star Trinity’s powerhouse lead Zee Gachette also took part in the annual street parade and teamed up with Sal Kimber for a kick-ass cover of Florence’s “You Got The Love” at the annual ‘Bread & Butter’ gig on Saturday that teams up headline acts for unlikely duets.
Just some of the other highlights in a festival full of jaw-dropping performances included US Americana singer and fiddler Lillie Mae, William Crighton, Caiti Baker, Thando and her super-tight Melbourne-based RnB outfit, Festival patron Jack Carty, and the inimitable Deborah Conway with her musical partner Willy Zygier who held the audience spellbound with new and old songs of real emotional and spiritual depth. Audiences similarly went wild for Perch Creek, The Morrisons, The Northern Folk, The Twoks, Hi Tops Brass Band, Hello Tut Tut, China Beach, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever.
Youth Mentorship winners Annelise, The Fingerz, Chelle and Gemma MacAuley all proved they have rich musical lives ahead of them. Each gained many fans at the festival with their performances guided by their respective mentors Jack Carty, Tony Rowley of Titan Sky, Xani Kolac of The Twoks and Ash Bell.
Many of the Festival highlights are unplanned and pop-up unexpectedly. Archer got together with The Morrisons and Lillie Mae to do an impromptu performance of old Hank Williams and Elvis Presley tunes for the residents of the local aged care and nursing home, much to the utter delight of everyone involved. After a rousing performance in front of a full house in the Memorial Hall on Saturday evening, Mullumgrad’s Russian men’s choir Dustyesky invaded the Brewery with an impromptu vodka-fuelled show and on Sunday afternoon, as their well-attended singing Workshop in the Golf Club drew to a close they decided to take their audience for a wander up the main street, singing all the way and gathering a big crowd at the front of the Memorial Hall for an equally rousing finale. Dustyesky also helped lead the street parade under a field of coloured parasols, their voices soaring into the winter sunshine.
The global food produced by the hard-working market stalls and local venues was better than ever with the local growers market serving up delicious fare to the hundreds of campers at the Showground. This year’s LeaF environmental program showed people how to move towards a waste-free future and educated in Fire-making, Bugs of Bellingen, Edible and Medicinal Weeds and The Great Koala National Park Project, among many other informative workshops. With Community Radio 2bbb FM stage being set up outside Amelia Franklin Coffee Shop this year, there was a window into the music of the festival for all to see and hear, with a series of artist interviews and inspired performances being broadcast far and wide via the airwaves and the 2bbb FM website.
Bello Winter Music once again brilliantly brought together and catered for many musical tastes within the one event. Lovers of folk, bluegrass, world, roots, indie-rock, jazz, RnB or Americana found much to delight in the festival program and were introduced to many surprisingly talented newcomers along the way. In a festival of so many highlights, the standout talking point was the beautiful riverside town and the warm, friendly community of Bellingen itself. It was a weekend that brought pride and joy to the hearts of many Bello locals.
For more information visit