By Max Davies

THE Whittlesea Country Music Festival is returning for 2022, with local artists set to take to the stage as live music makes a comeback following COVID-19.

Staged over two nights, the volunteer-run festival will offer a vast mix of musical styles and talent while providing a family-friendly atmosphere and evenings of entertainment.

This year will be the festival’s 21st year of running, after having missed 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Vice president David Watson said the main aim was to help the music industry get back on its feet and give musicians an opportunity to perform again.

“With everything that’s happened in the past two years, we really just want to help the music industry recover,” he said.

“A lot of people have been affected, not only artists but all the behind-the-scenes people who help make everything happen, so we want to try help move everything forward in any way possible.

“We’re hoping to put on a show just to show that recovery is coming.”

The festival will kick off on Friday, February 4, with a ticketed event beginning at 6.30pm at Whittlesea Bowls Club, featuring select local artists and roving finger food. To make a reservation, people can call the club on 9716 1966.

The main event will take place from 3.30pm on Saturday, February 5, with Whittlesea Showgrounds hosting a range of live music from various artists as well as rides and food stalls.

“We’re expecting numbers to be a bit lower than in previous years, but hopefully everyone who can and wants to come will,” Mr Watson said.

“We also want to push all kinds of respect, like respecting people’s choices and helping everyone to feel safe just so everyone can have a good time and enjoy the night.”

The festival is a free event and anyone who wants to attend is welcome. QR code check-in is required upon entry and visitors are required to be double vaccinated or be able to show proof of exemption.

COVIDSafe measures will be in place throughout the day, including masks when moving around or in crowded areas.

For more information, visit the Whittlesea Country Music Festival website or Facebook page