3 September, 2021
Blackall bash a boisterous buzz
The Better in Blackall Festival brought something for everyone.
IT was only the second Better in Blackall Festival, yet the event proved itself to be a must for tourists and locals alike.
Originally the Blackall Heartland Festival, the festival changed its name to suit the newly designed big “B” which hosts the hashtag, #betterinblackall.
With the new name, also came a change in attitude for the event, which still holds on to its agricultural roots, but looks to add a modern spice.
Events were aplenty across its five-day spread with something for everyone — young, old, and everywhere in between.
Better in Blackall Festival President Gill Russell said everyone was having a really enjoyable time at the festival.
“It’s just a lot of people need to return to visit their family, and they need a reason to come back,” she said.
“So, you put something on, and a lot of people come.”
Ms Russell said organisers tried to have something for everyone.
“There’s a lot of different age groups — for the three to six it would be Bingo and Bluey, and I’d say for the adults it’d be the Shank Brothers’ cook-off,” she said.
“We’re trying to grow that into a proper competition out here.
“Fortunately, our locals came in at the last moment after being pestered to compete — I think they’ve had a great day, and I think they’d have learned a lot along the way.”
Ms Russell said there was gin, whiskey, wine, and beer tastings that sold out. "
“Geed Up, the band, was very popular, and Chenai Boucher, she played excellently for us last night,” she said.
One of the events Ms Russell pointed out was the Mad Mudder which occurred on Sunday.
“It’s always a lot of fun,” she said.
“It’s just been a very broad range of activities.”
Ms Russell said the recent southern COVID outbreak was unfortunately timed with their festival.
“We really didn’t know whether we were going or not,” she said.
“Some [entertainers] had to pull out because they were in the vicinity of when it was [the outbreak] up in Cairns.
“We said we’d just go with it the moment it opened up.”
Ms Russell said there was a bit of luck when it came to many of the entertainers who had avoided hot spots.
“We decided in 2020 that we would only go with Queensland entertainers,” she said.
“So, if they shut the borders again, we wouldn’t have to cancel.”
Ms Russell said the entertainers had been hand-picked.
“Geed Up are from Eat Street (an event in Brisbane) and some people from Blackall picked them because they had seen that they were great entertainers,” she said.
“We’re not trying to be a music festival because we don’t need to be.
“There’s lots of thing we’d like to see the festival to grow into eventually; we’re just taking small steps at a time.”
Ms Russell said the event wouldn’t have happened without the community.
“[What the council has done], it’s amazing,” she said.
“The work ethic we have situated in Blackall, we could not do it without the whole community.
“You can see so many people around here working today.
“It’s a community effort.”