Ballina Country Music Festival in doubt despite success

The Hill Billy Goats, Goat boy, sunny goat, goat girl, and goat stomper during the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival. October 4, 2014.
The Hill Billy Goats, Goat boy, sunny goat, goat girl, and goat stomper during the Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival. October 4, 2014. Nolan Verheij-Full

COUNTRY music lovers from across Australia packed venues over the weekend at the most successful Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival yet - but the festival's future is in doubt.

Dedicated country fans Gloria and Jim Lee were impressed with the stars, including Pete Denahy, at the fourth year of the festival.

"We have been to every country music festival at Ballina since they started," Gloria said.

"The atmosphere and the variety of acts were fantastic."

The Alstonville couple joined more than 6000 country fans and punters over the three-day festival at venues including the River St stage, Cherry St Sports Club, The Westower Tavern and the Shaws Bay Hotel.

"There were lots of different styles of country at this year's festival," Gloria said.

"The Hillbilly Goats, Pete Denahy and the Alderman Brothers were the highlights for us on Saturday."

For the first time the festival began with a free opening concert on Friday night at the Ballina Amphitheatre, featuring headline acts Felicity Urquhart and the Luke Austen Band.

"It was amazing, absolutely past all expectations. Everyone on the night said they enjoyed, the artists were great, they really enjoyed the line-up," organiser Carol Stacey said.

"Someone said there was about 4000 in the street at one stage, but every venue was packed to capacity," Ms Stacey said.

"People really enjoy being able to enjoy music as a family, so the festival is really a family affair, where the whole family can come and enjoy.

"The feedback I have been getting from people is 'amazing', 'fantastic', 'keep it going', 'really enjoyable'."

But without professional help, Ms Stacey fears for the future of the festival, which has made its mark on the Australian country music calendar of many fans.

"I guess it's time to put it out there, I really need some help."

"I have been doing this with a small committee, myself, and it's getting too big for me to handle by myself, so if there are some promoters out there that would like to come and have a chat to me, I'm only too happy to listen."

Interested promoters can contact Carol at Stacey.carol47@gmail.com.


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