Airlie Beach Festival of Music is held in November, however, in the lead-up, the organisers stage what is arguably Australia’s biggest battle of the bands competition.
And you’d have to argue very convincingly to beat this: regional finals in (take a deep breath): Darwin, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Nimbin, Newcastle, Sydney, Illawarra, Melbourne and Adelaide.
And budding musos are all vying for the chance to participate in the final at Airlie Beach in November.
As well as the performance opportunity in 2019, the overall winner gets to return to play the main stage the following year, receiving four nights’ accommodation, VIP main tent passes, a $1000 performance fee, and a spot on Music View TV (Cairns).
If you’re a regional muso aiming to get your music to a wider audience, it’s well worth a shot.
Blink twice, and in a two shakes of a lamb’s tail, it’ll be time for Blues On Broadbeach, that annual four day free festival of meaty and felafel-y good blues music in the heart of Queensland’s Gold Coast at (wait for it) Broadbeach.
About a dozen years ago or so it seems, Chris Harvey of Blues Arcadia sat down with Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions at Stones Corner Hotel to have a chat about the then way distant festival.
This interview is vividly memorable for several reasons, mostly because it was the day that, after giving Bowen and Ayr and surrounding areas a drenching and blow-wet, Cyclone Debbie finally arrived in Brisbane.
We got our chat in just before the heavens opened.
Herewith our chat.
Please excuse the references to the upcoming Stones Corner Festival. That’s in the rear vision mirror now, and my colleague of sorts Ashley will be presenting her review in an upcoming edition of Trad and Now magazine.
I’d say see you at Blues on Broadbeach, but you’ll just have to have my share of the fun, and flood social media with pictures, videos (if allowed) and reviews.
In a Central Queensland caravan park camp kitchen typing with one finger!
2014-15 is only my fourth trip to Woodfordia, so there are others who are 25 visits ahead of me.
The first three festivals I attended as a volunteer, and like my introduction into the world wide weird of folk merely two years previously, I could not have made a better choice than to join the ranks of vollys, as they/we are affectionately known.
I have very little if anything to compare with the frissons of excitement I had as a wide-eyed young 41 year old, reduced by an event to a gibbering little schoolboy.
(Except when on stage; always a professional behind the microphone, of course!)
I was in a trippy paradise of heaven. Everything was new, everything was bigger and more colourful, more musical, more stunning, than anything else I’d encountered in music and art to that date.
Sorry, Bayern State Opera, but Woodford takes the strudel!
(It even proved to be a sorting hat for me, because my partner at the time came with me (to her first Woodford). In stark contrast, she whinged and whined and moaned and griped and complained. It was too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too expensive, too cheap, too too too much. I put her at an arm’s distance, revelled in my then very patchy mobile phone reception, and on 31 December when she texted me to say she’d gone home to mother near Chermside, I punched the air, danced a jig, yodelled from the Hilltop, and dived right back into the festival. A week later we were over for good and she ended up marrying the sound guy. Good luck to them both!)
I left home several days before the festival started and made a savage hook turn trip from Canberra down to Bodalla then later from Moruya to north Brisbane in one Christmas Day non-stop haul. Google maps informs me that’s about 1450kms on the black-top. Another 74kms to the front gate of Woodfordia, in near carpark conditions on the Bruce Highway. Travel north from Brisbane to the festival on Boxing Day at your own peril.
The taste of service station sausage rolls still lingers to this day. Nothing on the highway of any higher gastronomic fare was on offer in 2007, apart from days old sandwiches in those hideous plastic containers that look like they’d been washed and glazed for display.
On one of those nights earlier this year where I could have pulled up stumps in Blackheath, Balmain or Bollongong, I opted for the middle option on a warm evening at a programmed open mic night (for want of a cleaner turn of phrase), one of many put on each week under the label ‘Songs On Stage‘.
It was an eclectic mix of local performers at The Cat and Fiddle that night but the gig was also host to a visiting performer: Owen Van Larkins (who puts his music out as Van Larkins).
Owen and I took a few minutes to catch up talk about music, touring and venues, and I apologise now for the charming backdrop of traffic on Darling Street, Balmain:
A Punter’s Perspective Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage
NP Cloudstreet: On the road and on the phone Not published, for some strange reason. Possibly due to the eye-watering length of the text. Used in Monaro Musings at roughly the same time.
By Bill Quinn
Many readers would be familiar with the name Cloudstreet (the folk music act, not the book. Maybe both. Let’s stick with the former for now).
Nicole Murray and John Thompson have been plying their trade as individual performers for many years, and as a duo for about ten years, turning out fine studio albums and countless live performances in the process.
I spoke to Nicole and John in April this year, following a post-National Folk Festival gig in Canberra, and then again to John in June, when Cloudstreet’s first live album had just seen the light of day.
John and Nicole shared their views on singing, recording, live performance, and most importantly, what makes a really good cardboard box drum.