Not even a soggy Saturday could dampen the return of the 2021 Gumball music festival

Hamish Butler, Magpie Johnston, Christopher Saunders and Brody Scott with the Gumball 2021 artwork designed by artist Debbie Becker.
Hamish Butler, Magpie Johnston, Christopher Saunders and Brody Scott with the Gumball 2021 artwork designed by artist Debbie Becker.

The dust has well and truly settled on the 15th annual Gumball music festival at Belford and apart from the relief that this year's event actually went ahead organisers wanted to thank everyone involved for making 2021 such a special weekend.

Matt (Magpie) Johnston and his wife Jess and baby daughter Ruby were enjoying the quiet of 'Dashville' after around 2000 patrons had filled the property for the festival.

"When 'Bluesfeast' was cancelled just a day before it was to held due to Covid-19 we just wondered what were we doing trying to hold a music festival in this climate, but everything went ahead and we know our patrons loved being back again listening to live music," said Magpie.

"Not even a rainy Saturday could dampen the atmosphere it was just great to celebrate our 15th Gumball.

A highlight of this year's festival was the Young Gums Mentorship Program where ten high school students participated in a hands on learning experience in a live festival environment at 'Dashville'.

The program was federally funded through Festivals Australia and the Young Gums spent their time with professional musicians, artists, technicians and event managers.

The aim of the program is to target emerging creatives in regional NSW interested in music festival production and performance.

Among those who attended the program was Singleton's Hamish Butler, a drummer who hopes to become a professional musician and Maitland's Brody Scott who would like to become a music producer.

On the last day of the event all those involved in the program performed on stage which proved popular with the participants and the audience.

For this year's festival Magpie asked Greta based artist Debbie Becker to design artwork to promote the event.

With the Hunter River running through the centre the design captures the essence of Gumball, he said.

"'Debbie was great and she came out before Gumball and painted the stage backdrops for us," he said.

Printed artworks were given to the Young Gums and one donated to Singleton Council to be hung in their new Arts and Cultural Centre.

On hand to accept the artwork was Council's specialist arts and cultural officer Christopher Saunders.