Set for sound: Newstead goes live

Newstead is a town in anticipation just days out from its biggest event of the year.
The annual Newstead Live Music Festival is about to triple the town’s population over this Friday evening through to Monday throughout the Australia Day long weekend.
And while there’s more at the racecourse reserve, camping at the town’s oval – near the ever-popular Troubadour venue – has booked out.
“It always books out before the festival,” busy festival director Kelly Skinner says.
“I’m really excited about this year’s lineup.
“There’s lots I haven’t seen. I think this is going to be a festival of discovery.
“Most of the acts will do between two and four performances and we have close to 40 acts in the main part of the festival.”
Introduced last year for the first time, the Live ‘n’ Local stage will also be making an extended return.
“It was so well received when we did it last year,” Kelly says.
This time around 19 acts are on the program for the Live ‘n’ Local stage – “and about half of them are under 25 so it’s a nice mixture of experience and youthful exuberance,” Kelly says.
It’s also part of ensuring the festival that traces its beginnings back to the year 2000, will be around for plenty more years to come.
“We need to see it be sustainable so that’s why we’re trying to bring younger local people in,” says Kelly, herself an accomplished muso.
Part of the festival strategy, she says, is to diversify the genre on the program while retaining the ever-popular folk acts.
“Probably we’ll be actively approaching the sorts of acts we’d like to see – more world music and maybe a bit more blues.”
With live music spread across venues that range from the Troubadour and bar to the town’s classic and intimate country churches, the festival is a boon for the town’s businesses including its two pubs, Kelly says.
“We get a couple of thousand (patrons) and particularly at the Troubadour, people just tend to prop there the whole weekend.
“They’re people who’ve been coming year after year.
“My job as festival director is to make people happy, to see people enjoy themselves and to see the Newstead community embracing it.
“To see locals who don’t normally listen to this type of music get along to any of the venues and listen to the music or just walk around the street and catch the vibe is so rewarding.
“I think the community likes knowing we can do it.”

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