Blues at Bridgetown would like to give a big thank you to all their loyal Blues supporters and dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly and passionately each year to ensure that the festival continues. Blues at Bridgetown is one of the longest running music festivals in Australia and WA’s original Blues festival, and thankfully, it was still able to celebrate its 28th year in what has been a very challenging year for everyone.
Covid Blues 2020 – the Pub Sessions, was a different festival, for a different year, but what didn’t change was the great mix of music in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Hundreds of people enjoyed some of WA’s best blues musicians over three days of this years’ festival.
“While it was never going to be a full-scale festival, we are pleased that the board persisted and found a way for Blues at Bridgetown to go-ahead this year, against all the odds,” said Jock Doust, Chair of the Blues at Bridgetown board.
“This year has been pretty hard on the live music industry” he said “and it was great to be able to give so many WA musicians a chance to play.”
With so many music festivals around the country cancelled this year due to Covid, it was a difficult decision for Blues at Bridgetown to go ahead with the 2020 festival. The Board worked through a variety of options that would comply with the government’s ever-changing Covid health regulations and guidelines for events. It quickly became apparent that, as a 100% volunteer-based organisation with very limited resources and support, the only way forward was to use venues that already had Covid safe plans and practices in place – the pubs.
While Bridgetown’s pubs have traditionally been free venues during Blues at Bridgetown, this year two of the local pubs agreed to be Official Partners and to be ticketed venues. Due to the Covid health restrictions limited tickets went on sale and, even with the unpleasant weather, because of the tremendous support from loyal festival followers, both Friday and Saturday sessions sold out completely.
The Official Venue partnership allowed the Blues to receive all revenue from ticket sales while minimising their costs, risks and liabilities, and this partnership has left the not-for-profit organisation in a much better position to move forward into their 29th year. In this especially difficult year as a 100% volunteer-based organisation with no grant funding or sponsorship and no financial support from the Shire, without the Official Venue partnership with the Bridgetown Hotel and Scotts Tavern the 2020 festival would have been cancelled like so many other community events.
Feedback from both musicians and festival-goers was overwhelmingly positive, with all being very pleased that some sort of event had been staged in the current difficult climate.