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Four Things We Learned From Bailey Zimmerman Ahead Of Riding Hearts Festival

3 November 2023 | 4:13 pm | Mary VarvarisEllie Robinson

"I went down to Australia not knowing if I would have fans there or if people even knew who I was..."

Bailey Zimmerman

Bailey Zimmerman (Source: Supplied)

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Country music is taking over Sydney and Melbourne this weekend, with the team behind CMC Rocks bringing the inaugural Ridin’ Hearts festival to Sydney Showground and Melbourne Showgrounds.

The debut festival is headlined by none other than Bailey Zimmerman, who Countrytown caught up with ahead of his massive performances. The American country star will accompany local and international acts, including Danielle BradberySam BarberMatt SchusterSeaforthAlana SpringsteenSara BerkiZac & George and Country DJ duo VAVO.

In case you didn’t realise just how huge Zimmerman’s headlining slot is, here’s what his year has been like: In May, Zimmerman broke the record for ‘Most Streamed Debut Country Album Of All Time’ with Religiously. The Album. It also marked the biggest streaming debut album of the year across all genres.

In March, Zimmerman stopped in Australia for the first time, performing at CMC Rocks and opening for Morgan Wallen on a stacked four-card bill alongside ERNEST and HARDY. Other highlights of Zimmerman’s year have been starring on the Fast X soundtrack with Kane Brown and having his face plastered on AJ Allmendinger’s NASCAR vehicle.

To celebrate his Ridin’ Hearts headline slot, we caught up with Bailey Zimmerman and learned four things we didn’t know from the country sensation.

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Bailey Zimmerman tries to hang out without being seen in festival crowds

Man, honestly, getting out of the crowd is the [most fun thing]. And honestly, the really cool part is at these festivals, you kind of get a little disguise, like a sun hat or something, and see who recognises you. It’s just so much fun to, like, walk around and see who will see you, and then it ultimately turns into the biggest party. But yeah, getting out of the crowd and maybe a nap in the afternoon is always nice, but if not, definitely partying with the crowd because that's why I'm there.

“The energy is the same” at festivals and smaller shows

Ultimately, the crowds at the festivals are just a lot bigger, you know, but the energy is there for both. I mean, going to small clubs versus 40 or 50,000 people at festivals – I think the energy is the same. They are just ready to party; they just want to just party and rock. And they’re my kind of people.

Bailey didn’t think he’d have Australian fans before opening for Morgan Wallen

Well, I did an acoustic set, which was the coolest part. Because when I went out there and sat down on the stool to sing acoustic, there were so many people there, and they screamed every word from the first three songs, and they sang every single one. It was awesome.

It was the craziest [experience] because I went down to Australia not knowing if I would have fans there or if people even knew who I was, and when I got down there, it was like, ‘Oh, okay, oh, they're ready to party’. They're ready to go like, ‘Oh, this is gonna be awesome’. And that's how the whole tour was. I mean, all of Australia was just one big party.

Being in Australia is a “blast”

It was a blast. Like I said, I was in some of the shows and walked around on the streets going bar to bar. I was like, ‘This is awesome. This is so awesome’. We had the coolest pool in Melbourne – we had the tourist pool with a bar in it. And I got to get drunk with Jordan Davis. Somebody got drunk in the pool, and it was awesome.

Oh, everybody was partying, it was so much fun. And then we got to see koalas! I didn't get to hold one, but I got to see koalas and kangaroos and pet kangaroos. That was just insane because I'd never seen those at all. I started with a [promise] that we would go back. And I'm coming back.

The inaugural Ridin’ Hearts festival is hitting Sydney and Melbourne this weekend. Last-minute tickets are available via the Frontier Touring website.


Saturday, 4 November – Sydney Showground

Sunday, 5 November – Melbourne Showgrounds


Bailey Zimmerman (USA)

Danielle Bradbery (USA)

Sam Barber (USA)

Matt Schuster (USA)


Alana Springsteen (USA)

Sara Berki

Zac & George