Country festival finale primed
Plans are well underway for a big year of country music in Horsham, including next month’s ‘final’ Horsham Country Music Festival.
Horsham Country Music Association committee members have been busy working through the schedule, which also includes several dinner and morning shows at Horsham RSL.
The music festival, from March 21 to 24 and the subject of considerable behind-the-scenes discussions and speculation, again looms as a major event in the Wimmera.
Festival co-ordinator Lyall Wheaton said arrangements for this year’s showcase, the 12th instalment of the popular event, were progressing ‘extremely’ well.
Mr Wheaton said interest in the 2019 festival was high, with many long-term patrons disappointed the event, which provides significant economic benefits to the district, would be the last under its current operating format.
Mr Wheaton confirmed that age and health had caught up with many committee members and attempts to recruit new members had been unsuccessful.
But he added that patrons attending this year’s final Horsham Country Music Festival will see the best line-up of artists that had performed in the event’s 12 years.
The artist line-up this year comprises Laura Downing and Kiara Rodrigues from Queensland, Dwayne Elix, Peter Coad and the Coad Sisters, Brian Letton and Johanna Hemara from New South Wales and Don Costa, Justin Standley, Sandie Dodd, Trevor Keilar, Col Perkins and Lachie and Georgia Mcgennisken from Victoria.
Mr Wheaton said a popular ‘local artist’ segment that had been in Roberts Place every year had to be re-located to Horsham Soundshell because Horsham Rural City Council ceased providing the popular ‘parking pass’.
“This would have meant patrons would have had to walk long distances to access Roberts Place,” he said.
He said artists performing in the segment this year included Ron Pannan from Natimuk, Christine Johnson, Stawell, Vanessa Warra, Hynes Reserve, Robyn Norton, Serviceton, John Butcher, Warracknabeal, Sandra Loats, Rupanyup, Leo Telefson, Donald, Horsham’s 2 P’s, Voices of Wimmera and Lawrence Country.
The 2019 festival starts with walk-up performances at Horsham’s Riverside Caravan Park at 3.30pm on March 21. Bush Ballads at the soundshell will be at 6.30pm.
Friday entertainment at the soundshell features Wimmera artists from 10am to 3.30pm followed at 6.30pm by a tribute night.
Saturday morning will feature Horsham Plaza Busking Competition from 9.30am.
The festival will reach its zenith on Saturday night with the ACE Radio Country Music Spectacular, featuring nine hours of non-stop country music from 1pm to 10pm.
Sunday, the final day of the festival, starts with walk-ups at 8.45am at Lakeside Caravan Park followed at 11am by a Gospel Music Marathon and festival finale at the soundshell.
On the Sunday night patrons have three choices of dinner and shows at Horsham RSL, Toys Chinese Garden Restaurant and Glen Logan.
People seeking further information can call Horsham Visitor Information Centre on 1800 633 218 or Mr Wheaton on 5381 1995.