Inaugural blues festival a red-hot success

More than 1500 blues and brews fans packed Belmont foreshore on the weekend for an inaugural beer and music festival aimed at igniting Lake Macquarie’s nightlife.

The Belmont Beers, Blues and BBQ festival featured craft brewers from throughout NSW, the ACT and Victoria, acts including The Bondi Cigars and Kevin Borich and some of the Hunter’s best ‘slow and low’ barbecue exponents.

Interactive music installations, a live art mural and a VIP meet and greet with craft beer brewers also proved popular.

Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism Jacqui Hemsley said the festival demonstrated the City’s potential to host high-quality regional events.

“We are extremely happy – not just with the turn-out but with the way the crowd behaved and how we were able to really showcase the lake and what we have to offer,” Ms Hemsley said.

“This is the first step in our move towards bigger, bolder and better events right across Lake Macquarie.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser, who opened the event, said a draft Event and Festival Strategy on public exhibition outlined plans to host at least 20 iconic events each year in Lake Mac, from arts and entertainment to business and trade, and from cultural celebrations to sports and recreation.

“These events will engage and activate our community,” Cr Fraser said.

“They’ll show not just the Hunter but all of NSW and beyond that we are an emerging force in the events and festivals arena.”