By Julietta Jameson
So many music festivals are huge, commercialised and expensive.
Trust South Australia, the home of many an awesome festival, to host one that’s as grass roots and welcoming as they come.
Described by one pundit as a cross between the bespoke handcrafted feel of the Laneway festivals and the homegrown music-driven Tamworth Country Music Festival, it’s also a little bit Meredith and a little Woodford, as central to the event is camping out under the stars in a beautiful field setting to enjoy two days of great music.
It’s also similar to Meredith and Woodford in its sense of joyfulness. This is a happy, friendly occasion full of like-minded people. But it’s also a whole lot its own identity.
What started as a small, private Easter weekend party in the Clare Valley as a warm up to the Clare Races has now been held each Easter for the past seven years.
This independent project shepherded by a group of locals does three things: it showcases South Australian music, raises money for charity, and creates a unique party time in the Clare Valley.
Blenheimfest is limited in the number of attendees it can host, so it’s an intimate manageable event with a real communal vibe.
Numbers grow every year, and the organisers hope to triple its size to maintain its viability, but for now, expect between 1000 and 1500 fellow festivalgoers.
The property, Blenheim, in the famous Leasingham wine country, and patrons camp on the hillside, overlooking vineyards and country landscapes. When it’s time to enjoy the music, they can sit on hay bales under a huge shady gumtree in front of the stage.
Like the festival itself, the line up of musicians is growing in stature and organisers hope to attract bigger names in the future. As of 2017 though, Blenheim is still a great opportunity to see up and comers and exciting talent from South Australia’s music scene.
2015’s highlights included a bona fide swamp rock music legend Tony Joe White from the USA rip up the main stage as well as the mind blowing psychedelic soulful musings of Z Star from the UK. Local acts included South Australian blues legend Chris Finnen as well as rising stars Timberwolf.
The price for two days of music along with a campsite and parking is less than $100.
It starts at midday on Good Friday and continues through to late Easter Saturday. Blenheimfest quickly became an Easter tradition for those in the know and more and more are making it theirs too.
With 100 per cent of proceeds from this not-for-profit event going directly to New Hope Cambodia, a charity that educates young Cambodians, provides shelters for the vulnerable and provides a medical program that directly treats many patients daily, it’s good times for a good cause.