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Paul O'Bryan and Andrew Jamieson are to blame. 1993 at the bottom pub they passed a hat around, the $300 odd dollars collected went into the first festival and the first handful of performers. Known in the early days as the "Irish, Axeman, Bush & Blarney Festival" mainly consisting of folk, blues, irish and acoustic music.
In later years the festival was known as "The Rosebery Folk Festival" during this time the festival was hot on the folk circuit in Australia. We have had nearly every genre of music except Zydeco (reggae, to Paul's dismay). The festival was received with mix embrace from the local Roseberian’s at this time, bringing in an eclectic mix of people from all walks of life. Colloquially the festival was known as "The Feral Festival". A term used to explain the wide array of ‘different’ people that were perceived as intruding on their town once a year.
Despite mixed adversity the Festival Committee continued to ensure the Festival endured year after year. The streets come alive during ‘Festival Time’, colourful chalk drawings all over the pavements, medieval chic decorations, banners and flags. The people come out to play and it is a joyous atmosphere for children and adults alike. Many Festivals have come and gone, it takes a special group of people to ensure something continues for this long amount of time.
We have had bands from all over Australia and even some that hail from Worldwide. All of these artists coming down to a small mining town on the West Coast of Tasmania, surrounded by beautiful temperate rainforests and mountains. Many locals may not see the beauty of their own town, but a simple walk out their front door with a fresh outlook, and the beauty around them will be revealed. Some people have travelled the world and have chosen to settle in Rosebery.
The word has spread throughout the music scene through how we have looked after these artists, with welcome, open arms. The committee have even vacated their own homes and cooked meals for the visiting artists to make them as comfortable as possible.
We cannot forget the local talent that has always been the main stay of the now "Rosebery Festival". For a small isolated town we have an immense pool of local born talent. This includes Leigh McRedmond (Leo), Jody McDermott (Boz), Nick Wylie (Nikko), Ryan McGowan (Magoo), Micky J, Lee McDermott, Craig Youd and Beany just to mention a few.
What has driven this talent? From the days before Facebook and Youtube, entertainment in Rosebery consisted of mass sing-along at parties and at the pub. The rare visit from any band at the local forced us to entertain ourselves. Unlike mainstream cities the folk of Rosebery cannot just pop out and see a band any night of the week, the nearest place being Burnie 123km away on a Friday.
The yearly Festival has inspired many of the young talent in the town. "Bad Acid" being named one of the best cover bands in Australia by a journalist of a music magazine. A missed calling for these boys but mining kept the money coming and music didn't. Our sound system has evolved over the years and without Boz and Malno at the helm the Festival would be at a loss. Top class sound has been the comment even from the most professional of musicians.
There have been countless committee members over the years all selflessly giving their own time to ensure each year goes through. The "Rosebery Festival" is totally not-for-profit and completely free to the public. Something we are proud of and our way of giving back to a community that gives so much. “Selfless Work for the Greater Good” The “Rosebery Festival” brings arts, entertainment, culture, live theatre, poetry, exhibitions, markets, car shows, children's entertainment and much, much, more, to an otherwise forgotten corner of the globe.
The Festival has now grown into a four day event, opening with an art exhibition of local and state-wide artists on a Thursday. Friday and Saturday nights bring live music, usually eight bands playing a total of sixteen sets over the two nights at different venues. There is even a kid’s disco that provides a baby-sitting service so the adults can catch some of the concerts. In addition there are Unplugged Acoustic Sessions at various locations. Saturday is action packed with children’s activities, markets, car show and exhibitions. On the Sunday there is the Recovery Session and “Cheffy Geoffy’s Famous BBQ”. Then we all Fall Over!
It has taken many years to refine the eclectic mix of music to appeal to the demographic of Rosebery and the Greater West Coast. The Festival now brings a mix of blues, theatre, jazz, acoustic, vocal, rock and something new. I am sure all that have been, are excited as to what this year’s line-up is. Those that haven't been, should come and help us celebrate
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