Prominent Australian festival goes under

Harrietville BluegrassGreg McGrath at the Australian Bluegrass Blog has shared some unfortunate news for Aussie grassers.

Perhaps the island nation’s longest-running festival, the Harrietville National Bluegrass & Traditional Country Music Convention,l has announced its dissolution after 24 years. It’s a double hit for the people in the Victoria community of Harrietville, who are suffering through devastating bush fires as word of the festival’s demise

The following statement was released on February 13 from the festival organizers, Nick and Janet Dear, and Rod and Judy Jones:

James King band leads a jam at the Harrietville festival in Australia“After careful consideration, the volunteer committee responsible for organising the Harrietville National Bluegrass & Traditional Country Music Convention has decided to ‘call it a day’. There will be no 2013 Harrietville National Bluegrass & Traditional Country Music Convention and it will not be held again.

Of course, many people will be as disappointed and saddened by this as we are, but rest assured the decision was not taken lightly.

When the Convention started 24 years ago, our vision was to inspire people to play acoustic bluegrass, old-­time and traditional country music. Last year’s Convention was outstanding in terms of the quality of the music. This included three superb USA guest acts and nearly forty outstanding local bands.

We feel justifiably proud of what we have achieved together with the bluegrass and old-­time music community across Australia. It is good to finish on a high note.

Sincere thanks to all those who have supported this well-loved event over the years. We particularly acknowledge our overseas guests and the many musicians across Australia, who have all donated their time and musicianship to the convention program, providing inspiration to so many.

We look forward to a continuing relationship with the many friends made at the Convention and remain actively involved within the bluegrass and old-time music community.

Our thoughts are with the Harrietville community as they continue to deal with events around the bushfire near their township.”

Sad news, indeed.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Ken McMaster

    Yes, it is sad. However, the Yarra Junction Fiddlers’Convention is still going strong with bluegrass and traditional country music in Australia, now in it’s 31st year this March. Come on down and join us – we will make you more than welcome. http://www.yarrajunctionfiddlersconvention.com.

  • rod jones

    Just to correct some possible mis-conceptions. The Harrietville National Bluegrass and Traditional Country Music Convention never “went under”.
    In the entire 24 years we never made a loss. The personal business and other commitments of the committee members meant they could no longer devote the time needed, nor provide the extensive financial underwriting they had done in all the previous 24 years. Others have proposed a less formal, possibly free event ,without the big tents or overseas guests. We wish them every success.

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