Our story about the upcoming Bello Winter Music was published in the latest Coastbeat Magazine on 22nd June. We wanted to share it with our local readers- enjoy. Thanks to local photographer Sooz Myhill of Illuminating Photography for this stunning Bellingen image.
Coastbeat gets the inside scoop from ‘I Love Bello Shire’ about Bellingen’s upcoming winter music festival which will take place in the picturesque hinterland town in July.
Since the inaugural Bello Winter Music in 2015, locals and visitors alike have eagerly awaited the annual music festival which brings together a heart-warming selection of acts. The great buzz and vibrancy of the festival warms up one of the coldest months of the year for the town.
The announcement of this year’s musical line-up has everyone excited. Local artisans have begun creating the decorations which will adorn the town and local musicians who will play alongside national and international acts, are finalising their musical sets. Everyone is getting set for the festival which will take place from July 12-15.
Situated midway between Brisbane and Sydney and just 30 minutes inland from Coffs Harbour, Bellingen sits in spectacular countryside on the banks of the Bellinger River. The wonderful combination of Bellingen’s main street village atmosphere, rich architectural heritage, rural charm, bohemian atmosphere and thriving cosmopolitan culture and cafe society, proves simply captivating.
But it’s Bellingen’s creative bent and green persuasion for which the town is most renown. This makes it a perfect fit for a music festival that gathers an eclectic mix of musical genres together with comedians, storytellers and even a sustainability-focused program of timetabled workshops called Bello-LeaF.
Bello Winter Music organisers utilise the existing infrastructure in the town which reflects their consciousness around sustainability and community. Every building or business in the town centre with available floor space is transformed into a humming musical venue, adding to the inclusive vibe of this popular event.
As is only fitting, the Bello Winter Music patron is Bellingen-raised, internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Jack Carty. “To come back and be patron of the festival just feels like coming home,” says Jack.
“I think the community aspect of Bello Winter Music and that it happens in the town as opposed to being a separate thing on its own site, means the town really gets behind it and the local people and businesses get behind it. My old town really is a beautiful spot,” he adds.
Fresh from a massive run of UK and Australian album launch shows, Jack Carty has joined forces with best friend, former Papa vs. Pretty bassist, Gus Gardiner to bring their brand-new collaborative album ‘HOSPITAL HILL’ to Bello Winter Music this year.
The album, released earlier this month, has been described as ‘sweeping, intricate, moving and beautiful’ and was written for guitar, vocal and string quartet, and recorded live in complete takes over two days in a Sydney studio. Of special significance to Bello locals, the title track ‘Hospital Hill’ refers to the hill we all look at, perched above the township of Bellingen.
Bello Winter Music is able to draw great talent; local, national and international headline performers. Justin Townes Earle will be performing at this year’s festival. Justin has established a reputation as a singular leading light in the Americana music community. Having already released seven critically acclaimed albums, his lyrics have been described as ‘fearless and personally charged.’
Zimbabwean born songstress, Thando will be a show opener on Thursday, 12th July. Heralded as a commanding performer, her ability to tell a story takes her audience on a journey of reflection and self-love. Thando will be joined on opening night by the inimitable collaboration of Australian greats, Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier.
Darwin’s Caiti Baker has created a sultry world of hip-hop laced soul that she will share with this year’s audiences. Caiti writes songs about what she knows and feels and has managed to meld a plethora of genres together to form a unique sound.
The uncompromising, award-winning international artist, Zee Gachette with her trio, Z-Star Trinity will also be gracing Bello’s shores. Their high-energy modern blues, psyche rock, folk ‘n funk is legendary.
A little closer to home, Bellingen’s homespun talent will also be on show. Gunganbuwala is a local singing and rhythm group. Gunganbuwala has come from the friendship of indigenous language teacher, Michael Jarrett (Micklo) and musician, Luke Rhodes (Luka) and their interest in combining the teaching of language and music.
Gunganbuwala is now more than 20 performers strong who write songs using Gumbaynggirr language, translate songs from English and other languages into Gumbaynggirr and who perform new and traditional Gumbaynggirr songs.
“I would say it’s definitely a melding of cultures and ideas with several layers of meaning and message” says Luke.
“Our songs are about the things we care about. Respect for nature and the earth, honouring ancient wisdom and caring about each other. The group came about through wanting to learn and honour this ancient and beautiful language so in a sense, that is a strong part of the message as well.”
Honey and Knives was the first band to play on the first night of the inaugural festival and will be back this year to showcase their recently released album, ‘Who Are You’. This Bello based five-piece folk band manages to marry many musical genres. As their name suggests, they deliver the sweetest of harmonies with a raw energy and honesty.
“We really stretched out in this album. Some songs are very stripped back and fragile while others are pretty aggressive,” says singer-songwriter Toke Brunnekreef.
“There’s a lot of warmth and humour on the album. It’s all very sincerely written and performed.”
Honey and Knives will also be performing new, as yet unreleased material. “We’ve swapped the instrumentation around for some of this new material. Hopefully, there’s room to move on stage so we can bust a groove without busting our arses!!”
The two-piece folk-blues band Tyler Nakoa also find inspiration in Bellingen. “Just living in this valley provides fodder. I’m putting myself in the way of beauty a few times a day,” says Tyler. Tyler and Holly Mae are both passionate about social justice and the environment, a message reflected in their lyrics. “Not all battles can be effectively communicated through songs but for some, it’s the best medium to get the word out.”
Bello Winter Music is an intensely packed weekend of great music, free entertainment in the streets and parks, wonderful food, community, workshops, seminars and an enormous amount of fun.
The small town of Bellingen opens its doors and doesn’t disappoint.
For more information and ticket inquiries, go to www.bellowintermusic.com
For any visit to Bellingen, ‘I Love Bello Shire’ is your go-to online guide for the shire.
The 2018 Bello Winter Music Festival will run from 12-15 July.