The weather was great, the music fantastic: an event presented by a witty compere and supported by awesome audio mixing.
I and friends attended the inaugural Bangalow Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, and had a fabulous time. Families danced and tapped to the music in the winter sun.
It was spoiled only by an off-note at the end of the day.
I’m talking of the presentation of $10,000 of fundraising to the proponents of the controversial rail trail.
This family event was advertised as ‘All proceeds to support Arts and Culture’ and the donation of $5,000 to the Arts in Schools program fits that aim, and is most welcome.
But having the bulk of the funds raised go to a political lobby group, which was all prepared with publicity props and the Tweed mayor in tow, somehow doesn’t feel right.
Why wasn’t the event promoted primarily as a Rail Trail fundraiser? Why wasn’t the Byron mayor there? And how much ‘art and culture’ is really involved in a lobby group’s activities?
I’m sure quite a few in the audience were puzzled by the Tweed mayor’s presence. Some in the audience, surprised by the turn of events, called out for trains to be brought back.
I felt like a second-hand banjo, a bit used!
Perhaps the organisers can consider a more transparent and even-handed approach to their worthy patronage when planning for next year’s event, and steer away from divisive issues.
Jim Richardson, Clunes