Country icon to bring classics
Australian country music icon John Williamson is excited to get back up to Karratha for this weekend’s Beats in the Heat festival.
Williamson is no stranger to the Pilbara, having played gigs in Karratha, Port Hedland and Kununurra over the years.
“I took a million photos when I first went — I was so blown away by the feminine hills with their snappy gums and the spinifex,” he said.
“I think it must be a great place for artists because I just couldn’t stop taking photos.”
Having a big regional fan base, Williamson frequently gets out to the country to put on gigs or draw inspiration for his music.
“I’m not unfamiliar with the cities but it’s the country that inspires me ... I generally don’t write good songs about the city” he said.
“I’m inspired by the effect that the diverse country has on the people.
“People that live there become characters of their own.”
Williamson has been making music for 46 years and released his 50th album, Looking for a
Story, in April. “Some of them are compilations — it’s probably in the mid-30s of original stuff,” he said.
“I haven’t promised any more at this stage because I’ve got too many songs.”
With such a huge repertoire of songs, fans may be wondering whether Karratha audiences will be hearing his iconic tunes such as Old Man Emu, which turns 46 years old this month, and True Blue.
“Of course ... is the pope a Catholic?” Williamson said.
“They still go off more than anything else, to be honest.”
“(Old Man Emu is) a crazy song that never dies.”
Williamson is keen to play a few newer songs including Aussie Girls, which he has dedicated to Australia’s “fantastic” female athletes.
“I think they deserve a song, so it’s like a girl’s True Blue,” he said.
Williamson hopes he will be able to fit as many crowd favourites into his Beats in the Heat set as possible.
“When I do my own show, I do well over two hours but at a festival they usually... only want you to do 45 (minutes) or an hour and a quarter … because they’ve got a lot of artists,” he said.
“I hope they give me a reasonable time because we’ve come a long way.”
Beats in the Heat event organisers released artist set times last Thursday with Williamson allocated a 90-minute set this Friday.
Joining Williamson on the bill will be the Cat Empire, British India, Art vs Science, Drapht, Potbelleez and many more.
There will be camping available as well as a silent disco, beer and wine tents, food vendors and market stalls.
For more information, head to beatsintheheat.com.
John Williamson will be performing at Beats in the Heat this weekend.