What we learned at Girrakool Blues Festival

It’s very cool at Girrakool

Girrakool is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place of still waters’. The location for the Festival – Mt Penang Gardens and Event Parklands is beautiful and has a great flat grassed area that is perfect for events. So great to see the support from government to provide an area dedicated to events and the public.

The vibe of the festival is so nice and chill. Great audience, well laid out, and plenty on offer. Girrakool is not just a blues festival, it’s a BBQ Competition as well featuring some of the country’s best meat connoisseurs including Newcastle very own Smokin’ Hot and Saucy.

There were circus workshops and performances, food trucks, cultural programs and a dedicated kids day on the Sunday. Girrakool is a great event for the whole family. The Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country on the Saturday night was really moving and great to be able to witness & be a part of. They had also run a local band competition which the finalist and runner up were both included on the festival bill.

Very cool at Girrakool is the slogan of the festival, it was mentioned many times and is a key hashtag! Very fitting for the vibe of the festival.

New artist discovery: Minnie Marks

We loved Minnie and were really captivated by her performance. Her bio on the Girrakool Blues Festival website sums her up the best… Minnie Marks is not just some blazingly electrified acoustic guitar playing freak of nature, but also a rare and triple threat: Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Be warned, her show will take you on a dizzying, riff rock rollercoaster ride with songs written over the past years of her musical journey around the world. Touring a new album release recorded live in Germany, named ‘LIVE IN STUTTGART’ this bombshell explodes on stage pushing the limits of her guitar, vocals and performance, kicking arse and playing to packed out shows, leaving little doubt everybody is touting her as ‘the next big thing’.

Special mention also to Hussy Hicks who put on a stellar show. It was great to see so many females on the line up.

New artist discovery: Ben Waters & Derek Nash

We were blown away by Ben and his incredible piano playing and Derek’s energetic, vibrant and passionate performance. Together, they left the audience speechless and wanting more! They were joined on stage by a local drummer who’d they’d only just met at the festival – as an audience member we couldn’t tell. They all worked brilliantly together. Ben’s fingers just dance across the keyboard, we have never seen anyone play the piano like him.

Oldies but goodies: Vika & Linda Bull and 19-Twenty

We were really excited to see the beautiful sisters and hear their glorious vocals backed by their band. Key moments for us were when Vika sang the hit ‘My Man’s Got a Cold’ and Linda looked at Vika while she was fixing her distinctive white flower in her hair and said ‘make sure you get your flower right Vik!’ The girls have such grace about them. They bounce off each other so well, they’re great at getting the crowd involved with many references made to the kids in the front row and their timing was impeccable – like watching one person in 2 bodies.


The 19-Twenty guys Kane Dennelly, Syd Green & John Gwilliam finished off Saturday night with an almighty bang! They were electric, manic and infectious. They put on such a show – jumping around, climbing on the double bass, and making it up as they go along! You never know what’s next with these guys!

Bruce and his wife Alissa are passionate. As the organiser’s of the festival, these two were celebrating a key wedding anniversary yet they dedicated themselves to the festival. In between working, it was great to see both of them dancing and enjoying the festival they’d created.

There is a massive community feel at Girrakool and we can’t wait to go again in 2020. It is in fact #verycoolatgirrakool

Written by Newcastle Live

If it’s on in Newcastle, it’s on Newcastle Live

With this simple philosophy and a passion for local entertainment, Newcastle Live was born.

Newcastle Live is the Hunter’s premier online entertainment and lifestyle guide, a place devoted to all the great things happening in the region.

We’re your one-stop destination to find out what’s happening this weekend and keep up to date with the latest local entertainment and lifestyle news, reviews, features, and giveaways.

Newcastle Live boasts one of the Hunter’s most comprehensive gig and events guide updated every week, where you can easily submit your own event or register your venue.

Sign up to our free eNewsletter to receive the very best of Newcastle Live straight to your inbox every week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.