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Thousands flock to Big Chill Festival

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Ian Tiley has deemed the Big Chill Beer and Barbecue Festival a huge success, after thousands flocked to Armidale’s Civic Park over the weekend for the inaugural event.

Mayor Tiley said the positive outcome will mean the event can now grow into a bigger and better festival in the future.

“2800 tickets were sold over the two day event, with profits to go towards holding another festival next year,” said Mayor Tiley.

“A strong foundation has now been built and the success of this year’s festival has meant we can continue to build the event into an annual fixture on the region’s calendar.”

Crowds were particularly drawn to the stellar line up of live music, including two sets from Thirsty Merc’s Rai Thistlethwayte and several supporting acts.

Another highlight was the world-renowned Steak Cook-Off Association and the Australasian Barbecue Alliance’s famous sanctioned cook-off competitions which saw cooks from all over the country compete.

In addition to these exciting aspects of the event, there were almost 30 vendors in attendance offering a range of boutique food, drinks, produce and barbecue-related goods.

“The festival was designed to attract visitors to our region to help stimulate the local economy following a tough few years. The festival has given the region a much needed boost and sets a solid platform for Council to build upon,” said Mayor Tiley.

“Council would like to thank everyone who came along and helped make this event the best it could be.”

This year’s Big Chill Beer and Barbecue Festival was made possible by an $80,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund.

Council will explore new funding options next year, and is excited at the possibility of partnering with local businesses for future events.

See below for a list of barbecue competition winners:

Steak Cook-Off Association (Saturday):


  1. Mitch Barnes

  2. Shane Harris

  3. Gareth Smith

  4. Rob Thraves

  5. Katie Osborn

Anything Lamb

  1. Jarrod Lees

  2. Jesse Rowlings

  3. Brett Gray

  4. Shane Harris

  5. Peter Bukowski (from Armidale)


  1. Graeme Stockdale

  2. Jesse Rowlings

  3. Brett Gray

  4. Daniel White

  5. Mitch Barnes

Australasian Barbecue Alliance (Sunday):


  1. Black Glove Barbecue

  2. The Jacks Creek BBQ Team

  3. Pit Crew BBQ

  4. Bluebird BBQ Crew

  5. Smooth and SmOakey Salad Dodgers

Pork Ribs

  1. The Jacks Creek BBQ Team

  2. Country Boys BBQ

  3. Big Smoke BBQ

  4. Black Glove Barbecue

  5. Grillas in the Mist

Beef 2

  1. Big Smoke BBQ

  2. Smooth and SmOakey Salad Dodgers

  3. The Jacks Creek BBQ Team

  4. Jimmy Brisket

  5. Raw Meat Experts (Armidale)


  1. Black Glove Barbecue

  2. Smoking Barbecue

  3. Country Boys BBQ

  4. Lick of Smoke BBQ

  5. Pit Crew BBQ


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