Mildura Country Music Festival 2016

Hi Folks

mildura-festival-2016-jpg-2-copyOn Monday the 26th September we flew out of Auckland headed for Adelaide. We arrived around 10am and were met by our Aussie dad, Dale, and also bumped into a few kiwis either heading for Mildura and the Country Music Festival where we would eventually be and some, who had been with us to Norfolk Island, that were heading for the Murray River and a week long cruise.

The following day Dale, Annette and I drove down to see Alan and Maureen Webster in Milicent about 4 hours south of Adelaide. We had a great evening catching up and discussing future plans for our music. Wednesday saw us heading up to Mildura which is approx. 6 or 7 hour’s drive up through the out back as it were. It was a great trip up as we watched the storm clouds and lightning heading down the coast. It wasn’t until we reached Mildura that we found out all of Adelaide had lost its power. Twenty odd pylons had been bold over. Thankfully we were out of the place by then. However we had packed for temperatures around 40 degrees C  and I don’t think it got above 14 the whole week. But it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm we were going to enjoy the festival no matter what.

Wendy & Larry WoodsWe were up early Thursday morning to sing at the walk ups . These commenced at 7:30am at the Gateway Tavern and were run by Wendy and Larry Woods of Country Horizons and what an excellent job they did keeping the singers ticking over while breakfast was enjoyed as well as the company of all the other performers. All the singers were backed by a wonderfully talented gentleman by the name of Brian Barker. Brian had spent most of his life as a professional musician an awesome guy and very humble, his rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” was something to behold. It was a pleasure to perform with him. We made the walk ups for the remainder of the week. We had a great time and a number of people remembered fondly our good friend Graeme McCardle who used to run the walk ups.

From Thursday until Sunday we spent our time catching up with all our friends that were performing in the festival at various venues around Mildura and Wentworth. The entertainment was full on and non stop and awesome. Some of the venues we managed to get to were; the Irymple Hotel with Sandra Humphries, this was dinner and show, Woodsies Gem Shop with Craig Giles and Owen Blundell. We also got to meet Woodsie himself who gave us a tour of his personal collection of gems. This is a must see for anyone attending the festival or just visiting Mildura on holiday. The Crown Hotel in Wentworth for “Country on the Darling”, yeah it was raining that day, Wentworth is where the Murray and Darling rivers meet. This was a show with a variety of singers performing and where we caught up with Anthony Stewart a good friend of Annette’s and the Kanara family. Anthony was playing bass in the backing band. Anthony and his family used to compete on the awards circuit back in New Zealand when he was growing up he now lives in Adelaide and runs his own recording studio. We were back at the Crown in the evening to see our good friend Justin Standley performing. What an incredible voice is all I can say. We also made it to Gol Gol Hotel for the Yodelling and Bluegrass Show hosted by Johana Hemara and featuring Dwayne Elix, Justin Standley, Pete Smith and Steve Passfield. This was a fantastic show. The Sunraysia Farmers Market to hear Kim Ritchie and Cameron Mason and spend a couple of dollars.

On Friday evening we were invited by Col and Doreen Watson to the Borunga Riverside Caravan Park where they were staying for a BBQ and to do some entertaining to help raise funds for the Flying Doctors Service. We had a great evening with some entertaining people helping us out. Col and Doreen will be with us on Norfolk Island next year for the Country Music Festival so we look forward to that very much.

On Saturday evening we attended “The Australian Independent Country Music Awards” hosted by Adam Harvey and David and Merrilyn Carter. This show was broadcast live nationwide throughout Australia by the Community Radio Network. A variety of artists from the festival performed during the evening as well as the very talented Felicity Urquhart, Adam and David and Merrilyn who did an amazing rendition of “What a Wonderful World”.
Winners on the night were;

Heritage Award – Allan Caswell – One Last Muster
Group/Duo – The Long and Short of It
CRS Rising Star Male – Ben Ransom – Big Country Sky
CRS Rising Star Female -Hayley Jensen  – The One
Album of the Year – Allan Caswell – My Version of the Truth
Male Vocalist of the Year – Allan Caswell – Until the Hurtin’ Starts
Female Vocalist of the Year – Seleen McAlister – On the Inside
Single of the Year – Allan Caswell – Shelleys Song
Independent Artist of the Year – Allan Caswell

The whole festival was run exceptionally well by John Arnold and his team considering the state of the weather which hit South Australia and Victoria during the week. We totally recommend the Mildura Festival to any country music lovers looking for a great place to holiday and enjoy some fantastic country music.

On Sunday morning following our last walk up we headed over to the mall to enjoy the gospel show before saying our goodbyes and heading back to Adelaide to spend some time with Dale and to chill out before heading home on Wednesday morning and back to reality. Yay. We definitely look forward to returning to Mildura in the future. Our next Aussie excursion will be to the Barham festival in July 2017 and to the Lockington  Country Music Festival run by Roz and Craig Giles so we can’t wait for next year to roll around. It’s going to be a great one. Don’t forget 2017 will also be our 10th anniversary tour to the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival. We are taking bookings now as we would like to secure seats on the first flight out of New Zealand so we don’t miss a moment of Norfolk  Islands wonderful hospitality. Contact us now if you would like to join us on this beautiful Pacific Island for a week of music and mayhem.

Take care and keep it country.

Best wishes
Annette and Kim