Docklands Blues Music Festival

Posted by Beat Magazine on 28/9/16

The Docklands Blues Music Festival will once again fire up the Melbourne blues music scene on Sunday October 16, with an exciting lineup of over 15 bands on three indoor and outdoor stages. The festival will feature the likes of Geoff Achison, Andrea Marr & The Funky Hitmen, Dreamboogie, and to add the cherry on top of a fantastic bill, Canadian blues musician Mark Green will be headlining.

The Docklands Blues Music Festival will also feature carnival rides, a Wonderland Sweet Treats café and Blues food truck, and a host of family-friendly events. “It’s a free event, which is very rare for a music festival, and there’s free music running from 10am until 10pm all day,” says Melissa Head, the festival director. “It’s really cool because everybody can move around the different stages. It’s got a good family vibe and also a good party vibe.”

The festival began through Head’s background working with some of the great band’s featured on the lineup. “It came about when I was booking some bands; it was actually Dreamboogie, and then we got our heads together and said, ‘Why don’t we do a music festival?’

“We did it one year and it went from there. I’ve had funding from City of Melbourne for a couple of years and built it up further and then it’s back to us this year,” says Head.

The Docklands Blues Music Festival was originally conceptualised as a visitor attraction to draw people to the Docklands. “We have people staying there and playing. It’s really a tool as a visitor attraction, visiting Docklands, Spiegeltent specifically since we own and run it. It’s to draw people to the Spiegeltent,” Head says.

The process of selecting the bands that will play in the festival this year was different to the festival’s previous years. “This particular year we’re introducing a lot of interstate bands and bands that people haven’t seen before, and also the feature headliner Mark Green. It’s predominantly a local festival, so we use a lot of local acts, but this year we’re introducing quite a few interstate acts,” Head says.

“We’re adding a lot of brass this year. Mark Green from Canada is pretty awesome, so there’s a good mix of acts that everyone will love.”

As a festival producer, Head has witnessed the blues music scene grow and develop significantly over the years. “It’s quite a mainstream genre of music that’s loved by everyone. Since there’s the other major festivals like the Byron Bay Blues Music Festival and Broadbeach, I’d say it’s built up into mainstream music. I see a big demand for blues music and a big market for it,” she says.

As for her favourite acts in the festival, Head is looking forward to witnessing a couple of the interstate acts, along with Mark Green. “Geoff Achison just come back from a tour overseas, and he’s pretty amazing. And I want to see Andrea Marr & The Funky Hitmen,” she says.

Head has big plans for the future of the festival, with growth on their horizon. “The festival came about as a visitor attraction, so my future plans for it are to find a sponsor partner to take it to the next level and turn it into a two-day free event. This year is a one-day event.

“It’s a real party, it’s so much fun. The vibe’s awesome with the carnival and the amusement rides. People are dancing, it’s fabulous.”

The Docklands Blues Music Festival will run on Sunday October 16 at the Wonderland Spiegeltent under the Melbourne Star. 

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