The sweet sounds of holiday blues

By McIvor Times

ALL roads lead to Tooborac this Friday to Monday for the annual Tooby Blues music festival.

Spread over four days and three venues, this year’s event promises to be bigger than the last with more acts and one more session boasting more local acts.

McIvor Estate’s Gary Harbor said this year has seen the festival collaborate more with the Bendigo Blues and Roots festival organisers to capitalise on the tourist spike.

‘‘We hosted (a part of the event) last year after Col Thompson, the director of the Blues and Roots festival, approached us about doing something around Tooborac,’’ Gary said.

‘‘We (Tooborac) have three venues close together and we’ve always worked together, we have had events at McIvor Estate going back 10 years and they were predominantly blues and jazz.’’

Gary said last year’s inaugural Tooby Blues festival was a good learning curve for organising this year’s, which takes full advantage of Monday’s public holiday.

‘‘When the public holiday is on Friday, we can only run events from Friday to Sunday, but this year we have an extra session at McIvor Estate on the Monday,’’ he said.

And he said this year will be another event with quality local acts.

‘‘There’s a fair bit of money going into musicians and sound gear; venue proprietors want to attract people to the region and showcase what Tooborac has,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s the brewery/pub and two wineries all within 5km of each other, they’re all close and work well together.’’

Part of that collaboration is about sampling each other’s product, and the three venues have worked together to ensure licencing will allow each venue to serve beer and wine.

‘‘That way we can support each other’s products — you can spend a day, or an evening, at a venue. You’ll be well fed, watered and entertained,’’ he said.

‘‘And if you’re a musical enthusiast you can come and enjoy some great acts, we have soloists and duets and we’re focusing on supporting locals.’’

Some of the locals include Mariah McCarthy from Heathcote and Axedale’s Luke Harrington. ‘‘Local musicians would probably outnumber the Melbourne ones,’’ Garry said.

Entry to each location is $10 at the door, no tickets required. For the full line-up visit