c a m p i n g
f o r a
c a u s e
In under a week Blenheimfest will be entering its sixth year, kicking off at midday on Good Friday. Located in Leasingham in the Clare Valley just a ten minute drive from Clare itself, Blenheim is a local and home grown overnight music festival serving up a buffet of tasty music, with a side of wholesome morals.
Blenheim first originated as a small festival of about 150 people, a pre-party to the Clare Easter Races put together entirely by donations of the punters and volunteers. Since it’s inception, year after year everything about Blenheimfest has gotten bigger and better with 2014 reaching a record number of 1300 ticket sales. But even with the growth of the festival over the years, the core values have not changed.
One of the points of difference between Blenheim and other events similar is that apart from providing good times, it’s also for a good cause. 100% of profits made from Blenheimfest are donated to New Hope Cambodia, a Non-Government Organisation working towards providing ‘free education for all’ and helping to assist communities affected by poverty.
The event comes together every year due to the hard work of its Blenheim family of volunteers, no-one gets paid and everyone buys their own ticket. Most of the musicians who play at the festival provide their time and their talent for free or at a heavily reduced rate. Wine and beer is donated by local winemakers and brewers in an act of mutual support for the Clare Valley region.
The site was originally a run down, 150 year old blue stone building on a large property but now it features a skate ramp, a cinema and the Green Goat bar and beer garden. Again, all built during Blenheim working bees by their hard working festival folk.
So now you’ve got the warm and fuzzies about the history, let’s talk about the music.
Organisers of Blenheimfest have wanted to steer away from the vibes of mainstream camping festivals and want to create an atmosphere similar to the first years of Falls or Splendour in the Grass. The line-up features an eclectic mix of local, national and now international artists playing genres such as blues, reggae-funk, neo-soul, folk, hip-hop and blue-grass.
2015 headline acts include Tony Joe White (USA), Z Star (UK), Marlon Williams (NZ) and local favourites such as Timberwolf, Max Savage and the False Idols, The Shaolin Afronauts, Abby Howlett, Alice Haddy and Ciaram Granger. And that’s only about half.
Between sets you can wander the site featuring the Trumpet Lane Market, a games area and maybe watch some live art by local Adelaide artists. I hear whispers of the famous Blenheim ‘Scoop Mobile’ getting a cheeky and colourful make-over this year.
Although there is the option to park and leave the festival, let’s be honest. It’s all about the camping. Pack your tents, sleeping bags and beanies and find the biggest esky your boot will fit, ‘coz thats right, Blenheimfest is BYO. This, for me is one of it’s biggest draw cards. Only rule? Don’t bring glass. Goon and tinnies? Totally acceptable.
Make sure you bring enough cash because despite the BYO option, you’ll still want to be purchasing some tasty adult beverages from locals such as Skillogalee, Kirrihill, Annie’s Lane, O’Leary Walker, Shut The Gate, Stone Bridge, Knappstein, Pikes and Clare Valley Brewing, just to name a few.
Gates open at 10am, April 3rd for camping set up, music beginning at midday. The festival is all ages and there is even a family friendly area set up on the camping hill for those with little humans needing an earlier night.
Tickets are affordable at only $89 plus booking fee and are selling fast so if you’re looking for something to do to kick off your Easter long weekend, head no further than http://www.blenheimfest.com.au/ , purchase your tix and pack your car.