"Magic" is how the 2019 Bluewater Country Music Festival was described once it wrapped up after a big six days.
Boosted by mostly sunny weather, Nelson Bay, the marina and 16 venues across the peninsula were jam-packed with people attending gigs, bush poetry, markets, line dancing and other events between Thursday, June 6 when the festival kicked off, and Monday, June 10 after the longest line dance brought it to an end.
"At the various Bluewater Country Music Festival events over the weekend there were children of all ages, adults of all ages, people with various abilities and disabilities, the frail participants supported by their mates, the capable organisers keeping the show on the road, the rusted-on country music fans singing every word, the hard-core country-rock fans singing every word, and the huge array of performers of all varieties and experience," Aleta Huthnance, one of the festival's organisers for 2019, said.
"If our little festival can grow a few stars, provide work for country music artists and their crew, introduce something exciting to our community and our visitors, and stimulate the local economy for a long wintery weekend then I think it's been a winner for everyone.
"The two Port Stephens line dancing groups arrange events that bring over 500 families here for the weekend from all over NSW for an intensive program of events.
"Their events are full of good-hearted competition, some gorgeously fun-filled moments and a genuine inclusiveness that shows a really caring community spirit.
"For all of you who came along and supported the festival in your own way, thank you. Port Stephens is richer for the investment of time and energy that you made.
"Our community is stronger, and we have created a signature event that can make magic happen."
Mel Smith from the Bay Bootscooters and Margaret Taylor from Blue Water Line Dancers, two of the Port line dancing groups that host events during the annual country music festival, both said their groups had "fantastic" weekends.
Ms Smith said she was happy to see more than 240 line dancers at its events at Diggers on Saturday.
"It was an awesome weekend of socialising and dancing," she said.
"We had a record crowd at Wests Diggers for the Saturday showcase and line dance social.
"Line dancing gets bigger and better every year."
A highlight of the festival for Ms Huthnance was seeing the Thompson siblings, Brooke, 12, and Sam, 9, from Tamworth meet their hero and festival headliner Adam Harvey at Diggers on Saturday night.
Sam and Brooke helped to open the festival at Nelson Bay Bowling Club on Friday, performing to 150 people.
"As a wonderful surprise we were able to arrange a meet and greet for the whole family with Adam Harvey," Ms Huthnance said.
"As soon as soundcheck was completed Adam came and sat with us, grabbed drinks from the green room for us all and had a jam with Sam.
"Adam was so generous with his time, doing a guitar tutorial for Sam and making sure mum captured it on video so that Sam could practice at home, chatting with each family member, and finally inviting the two children to perform with him at Tamworth in January."
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