Song festival gears up

The full line-up has been released for October’s inaugural SongWays festival.

Local sounds: Paige Duggan and Mitchell Burgess with a host of musicians who will perform during the SongWays festival. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

Local sounds: Paige Duggan and Mitchell Burgess with a host of musicians who will perform during the SongWays festival. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

Featuring a blend of Ballarat’s stalwart performers with the city’s rising stars, the October 14 to 16 event will kick off with free live music on Friday night followed by ticketed concerts at the Main Bar, Suttons House of Music and Babushka Lounge.

Saturday will see busking at Bridge Mall followed by an all-musician extravaganza at Suttons. Sunday will wrap up with a free jazz chill-out session at the Main Bar.

Hip hop artist Mitchell Burgess, 19, said he had started rapping as a way to express himself and explore heavy concepts.

“It’s like poetry in a way. Whatever is stressing you out, you can write about it and it’s a way of expressing yourself,” he said.

“The serious issues I like to talk about are the things that people turn a blind eye to, like domestic abuse and drug abuse. It’s a big part of Ballarat – you don’t see it but it’s always there.

“A lot of rappers like to boast about themselves, but there’s much more to rap about than that. There’s a lot of stories to be told and a lot to learn.”

Jazz singer Paige Duggan said she grew up listening to the genre after one of her brothers introduced her to it as a child.

Since then, she has become a staple of Ballarat’s live music scene, releasing an album of jazz standards last year and performing a number of gigs in Melbourne.

She said Ballarat’s music community was close, supportive and non-competitive.

“All genres are represented – everything from jazz to hip hop to country to metal and punk. All the genres you can imagine are covered in Ballarat,” she said.

“It’s a great community that is really supportive.”

Duggan said a festival like SongWays, which is a key feature of the City of Ballarat’s new Live Music Strategic Plan, was hugely important in supporting that community.

“A high calibre of artists live and perform in the area,” she said.

“It’s great for the community to have events like this, for local culture and to have events that are entertaining.

“Also, it hopefully helps establish Ballarat as a place with a great live music scene.”

Festival passes are available for sale now, along with tickets to individual events. For more details, visit www.facebook.com/BallaratSongWaysMusicFestival