Yellowbelly festival boosts St George economy
JEFF Brown has been performing at the Yellowbelly Country Music and Poets Festival since it started in St George seven years ago and has seen it grow in success.
"There were over 400 people that turned up this year,” Mr Brown said.
"People are now looking forward to it every year, and we have the ones who follow the festivals around who are marking it on their calendar every year.”
The week-long festival had a great line-up of country music performers and bush poets, as well as many fun walk-ups that brought in locals and visitors from as far as Adelaide and Rockhampton.
The Golden Guitar winner and country music singer said it was great to see so many locals and tourists come out to enjoy talented artists, with festivals such as this helping him to source inspiration for music.
"I get inspired by various things. I'm a truckie so there's been different things in the trucking game that I've written songs about,” he said.
"When I'm travelling, it can even be something small like noticing the amount (sic) of kangaroos and emus that had been run over, which inspired my song Kamikaze Kangaroo.
"Sometimes I have people sending poetry in and it's something that really strikes a note.
"Once I find the right melodies the words just start flowing.”
Mr Brown said the festival-goers provided a cash injection for St George while they were in town, with a incentive this year encouraging tourists to boost local businesses.
St George bakery owner Trent Challenger said the festival offering prizes to those who shopped locally for the first time brought more money back into the local economy.
"We were selling pies like crazy, and on one day sold double the amount of sausage rolls we normally would,” Mr Challenger said.
"Customers were asking for receipts too, so it was good to see the new incentive was working.”
The bakery owner of 15 years said he had been keeping an eye on the licence plates of vehicles pulling up out front and had noticed an influx of tourists stopping in on their way in and out of town for the festival.
"The first year the festival started we never really saw many tourists, but every year the bakery has been getting busier,” Mr Challenger said.
"The last day was our busiest because people were coming in and stocking up as they were leaving town.”