‘BLUE ON BLUE’ Winners announced
THE Airlie Beach Music Festival’s ‘Blue on Blue’ cover competition was decided on Sunday at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.
A total of 31 competitors from all over Australia were vying for a $15,000 Whitsunday holiday prize by submitting their version of the iconic song, written by local musician Kieran McCarthy
The 31 entrants were whittled down to 10 by way of fan voting on the music festival’s Facebook page and the top ten were voted on by 28 judges behind closed doors on Sunday afternoon.
Eventually it came down to a split decision and the competition was taken out by two local acts – Rebelquin and the combined efforts of Tony Fossey and Mark Nicol.
Another local, 15-year-old Sam McCann, won the under-18 category of the competition.
Competition organiser Andrew Pattinson said a packed house at the Whitsunday Sailing Club was treated to a public showing of the top ten versions of the song and all were very well received.
“The crowd erupted once the winners were announced as both versions were crowd favourites,” he said.
Lead singer of Rebelquin, Sharon Van Den Berg, said it was “absolutely awesome” to win.
“And it’s a great opportunity for us to get our name out there, performing all my original stuff, finally,” she said.
Mark Nicol, who collaborated with Tony Fossey, was equally over the moon.
“And I thought it was a big honour to be able to sing a song for Kieran and to have it played at a music festival in the Whitsundays,” he said.
Kieran McCarthy said he was similarly “honoured and privileged” by the way the competition went.
“At least half of the entries were outstanding and it was interesting to hear the song in different genres,” he said.
The Blue on Blue cover competition was launched in March as a way of promoting the Airlie Beach Music Festival, the Whitsunday region and the 25-year career of Kieran McCarthy.
Mr Pattinson said he was “absolutely stoked” with the response and amazed at all the different versions the artists came up with.
“Each version was entirely different from the next [and] it is such a beautiful song and so well written, I’m just glad that more people have heard it,” he said.
“Hopefully someone in Whitsunday tourism circles has heard it too and uses it in an advertising campaign.”
COMPETITION CLIMAX: Blue on Blue competiition winners Tony Fossey (far left) Sharon Vandenberg, Tony Burbidge, Gordon Simmons and Mark Nicol (centre), with Blue on Blue songwriter Kieran McCarthy (left) and Airlie Beach Music Festival promotor Gavin Butlin (far right).
YOUNG TALENT: 15-year-old local musician Sam McCann won the under-18 category of the Airlie Beach Music Festival's Blue on Blue competition on Sunday. Photo by Andrew Pattinson / Vampp Photography