Mariah McCarthy. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

Local singer and songwriter Mariah McCarthy is excited to share a platform with musical luminaries such as The Maes and Dan Kelly.

Mariah will be appearing at a new four day music festival which will be held in the Bendigo’s arts precinct the weekend after Easter.

The event’s organisers have previously delivered the Mullum Music Festival and Bello Winter Music in New South Wales.

Their Bendigo event will be called Bendigo Autumn Music.

Originally from Heathcote, Mariah said Bendigo is becoming well established as a strong musical centre which is offering plenty of lively venues for musicians.

“Since the Blues and Roots festival started up more people have become interested in music here,” Mariah said.

“There’s been a move away from rock and metal music to blues and folk music.”

While she’s had plenty of gigs when living in Melbourne for four years, Mariah said the inaugural BAM would be the most exciting festival she has participated in so far.

Mariah’s inclusion reflects the organisers’ policy which is committed to a 30 per cent local content as well national touring artists such as Tex Perkins, Vivki and Linda Bull and Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier.

Mariah, who has just had her 24th birthday, said she started guitar lessons when she was nine years old.

As her confidence grew so did her song writing ability.

“I enjoy telling a story with my songs. I don’t do much chatting in between but let the songs speak for themselves,” she said.

“I love people–watching and often my songs are derived from that as well as books and movies.”

Mariah is also influenced by the story telling of Bob Dylan and Neil Young.

Add a dash of Joni Mitchell and you get a feel for her style – relaxed and intimate.

Last year she launched her debut EP Counting Sheep.

At BAM, Mariah will be accompanied by members of The Bean Project, who will also be playing.

When she’s not performing Mariah teaches at a cluster of small schools such as Pylon and Tooborac – a job she loves.

Bendigo Autumn Music: Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 28.

Inquiries www.bendigoautumnmusic.com