2018 Blue Water country music weekend in Port Stephens

The absence of Blue Water country music festivities made the streets of Nelson Bay a lot quieter but the town still pulled a strong long weekend crowd.

Despite bouts of heavy rainfall on the weekend, hundreds of people turned out to markets on the foreshore plus line dancing events and gigs in the Bay’s clubs and hotels that were run under the Blue Water Country Music Festival banner.

Margaret Taylor from the Blue Water Line Dancers said numbers to events appeared to be down this year, but did not put it down to this year’s festival being scaled back.

She believed factors such as cost to travel and increased age of dancers played a big part in the decrease in participants.

“The line dancers will always make this long weekend a line dancing event, festival or no festival,” Ms Taylor said. “Will see what happens next year. We all hope the festival will continue for many more years to come.”

Mel Smith from the Bay Bootscooters said “really great crowds” turned out to its events. 

The longest line dance at d’Albora Marina, which traditionally wraps up the festival weekend on Monday morning, was cancelled this year due to the rain.

Jonathon Fitzsimmons, Wests Nelson Bay Diggers restaurant supervisor, said the club was busy from morning to night each day of the weekend with line dancers, regular patrons and country music weekend punters looking to enjoy music and bush poetry.

“It was a an excellent weekend with up to 300 boot scooters dancing at once in our auditorium,” he said. “The band Hurricane Fall really put on an amazing performance for our guests.”

James Blundell played at Shoal Bay Country Club on Saturday night while Soldiers Point Bowling Club hosted 4 Highwaymen and Drew McAlister was at Nelson Bay Golf Club.

“It was an awesome show,” McAlister said. “So great to catch up with some wonderful fans and meet some new ones.”

Melinda Schneider was the star attraction of the weekend, drawing an enthusiastic crowd to Soldiers Point Bowling Club on Sunday night.

Port Stephens singer Lee J Collier organised a Nashville-style songwriters in the round gig for Nelson Bay Bowling Club on Sunday, inviting Tamworth friends The Crosby Sisters – Jodie and Kelly Crosby – and Wendy Wood to perform with her. 

“It was a small audience but they were quality and we all had such a good time,” Ms Collier said after the show.

Traffic out of Nelson Bay on Monday morning was slow. Motorists crawled to a stop at Salt Ash where the dual carriageway returns to a single lane and speed drops from 100km/h to 80km/h.

Did you get along to a Blue Water gig? Send your photos to portstephens@fairfaxmedia.com.au.