Our campus is counting sleeps until the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival this weekend. To celebrate, we bring you another festival story, written by Writers in Action student LISA MARMUR.
When Steve Saxton performs at The Engine Room for the Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival this week, the stage will still be warm from the October launch of his EP, Far From Home. Saxton, however, will be right where he belongs.
Saxton is a veteran of the Bendigo music scene. He moved to town in 1989 as a university student, and since then he has played the city’s pubs and music venues, both solo and as the front man in a number of bands.
His career was given a boost early on when his music was featured on Triple J’s first Unearthed CD and received national airplay.
Having founded Bendigo’s Rock In The Vines festival, Saxton understands the positive impact regional music festivals can have on musicians and their communities.
“Original music can struggle to find an audience in regional centres, and festivals like Bendigo Blues and Roots have a huge role to play in promoting the quality of local music,” he said.
Saxton believes the whole community can profit from a rich musical scene, both culturally and financially.
“Regional communities that are supportive of their own artistic community thrive,” he said, “It’s a long-term, whole community benefit. Communities that promote a strong artistic and creative attitude also tend to build a culture welcoming diversity and inclusiveness.”
In what will be his second blues and roots festival performance, Saxton will appear with fellow songwriters Liam Thorpe and Trevor Petrie as the band The Healers of Hurt.
The three men (usually four, with member Albert Skipper) will take turns introducing and performing stripped-back, acoustic versions of their original songs, sometimes joining one another in harmonic arrangements.
“The festival provides an opportunity that is rare in Bendigo for original musicians to get in front of a new audience,” Saxton said.
There will no doubt be some long-time fans in the audience, too. Many locals helped crowd-fund the EP recording, produced with his new band Steve Saxton and The Gentlemen.
Catch Saxton and The Healers of Hurt in an intimate performance at The Engine Room on Saturday, November 7.