Groundwater CMF Drops First Line-Up, Including Internationals Jackson Dean and Asleep At The Wheel

25 May 2023 | 9:30 am | Mallory Arbour

Celebrating 10 years of country music on the Gold Coast!

Jackson Dean

Jackson Dean (Image: Supplied)

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Groundwater Country Music Festival (CMF) has announced the first line-up for its 10th anniversary this October 20-22.

Announcing 20 artists in the first line-up, Groundwater CMF will once again welcome some of the best Australian talent country music has to offer and a host of international guests including the return of some familiar favourites!

With a new album and a national tour to boot, headlining the festival this year will be the legendary Lee Kernaghan. With 13 studio albums, 40 #1 charting hit songs, 38 Golden Guitars, 2008’s ‘Australian of the Year’, entry into CMC and Australian Country Music’s Hall of Fame and an ARIA Award in 2018, Kernaghan's staggering career has made his name synonymous with the ethos of country music.

Groundwater CMF is also excited to welcome Maryland USA’s rising star Jackson Dean, who has had an astounding breakthrough year in 2023. Dean is known as the artist to watch and he’s smashing records all over the world. His debut Groundwater CMF performance will form part of his explosive global tour.

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Australia’s reigning queen of country Amber Lawrence will be returning to the Groundwater CMF stage this year after performing at the first ever rendition of the festival in 2013 (originally known as Broadbeach Country Music Festival). 10 years later, Lawrence’s abundant career has been a testimony to her versatility, resilience, and passion. 

On her return to Groundwater CMF, Lawrence said, “I’m so excited to be coming back to the Groundwater festival. I remember being lucky enough to play the very first festival in 2013 and many times since. It’s been five years since I last played this wonderful festival - and in that time there’s been a whole lot of new songs and albums for us to bring with us to the Gold Coast. We can’t wait!”

Also making a welcome return is Gold Coast local Casey Barnes, who has often cited Groundwater CMF as his favourite music festival to play. Fresh off the back of his APRA Award win last month, his 2022 ARIA Award-winning album Light It Up has seen Barnes career reach new heights, picking up the Golden Guitar Awards for ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Top Selling Album of the Year’ as well as debuting at #1 on the ARIA Australian Country Album chart.

Barnes added, “I know I'm not meant to have favourites but when it comes to Groundwater it's definitely at the top of the list and I'm so honoured to be part of yet another amazing line-up to celebrate the 10th anniversary. This was one of the first festivals to give me a start back in the day and I'll never forget that. To think how far we've come since then is pretty crazy. Plus, there's nothing better than playing in front of a hometown crowd! See you guys for one heck of a party in October!”

Founded in 1970 and formed in West Virginia USA, 10-time Grammy Award-winning American country music legends Asleep at the Wheel will be making a highly anticipated appearance in the 2023 festival line-up. With a celebrated 50-year career, the star-studded group has released 26 studio albums plus a range of performances and collaborations with notable artists such as the Avett Brothers, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Lucky Oceans, Leroy Preston and Chris O’Connell. Asleep at the Wheel represent an important cornerstone of American roots music – the perfect outfit to celebrate 10 years of country music at Groundwater CMF.

Additional performers include Blake O’Connor, Melody Moko, The Pleasures, Sara Berki, The Dungarees, Georgia State Line, Round Mountain Girls, Bo’Ness, Tyla Rodrigues Band, Pete Cullen and the Hurt, Doug Bruce and the Tailgaters, Hinterland, Loren Ryan and DJ Colonel’s Country Music Cottage. Many more artists are still to be announced.

Major Events Gold Coast Director of Festival and Events Mark Duckworth said, “This year is going to be a really special party at Groundwater CMF with a decade of festivals under our belts and we are lucky to have many friends of the festival back to join us in the celebration, including the legendary Lee Kernaghan, Amber Lawrence who appeared in our inaugural line-up and of course our own local star Casey Barnes.

“This festival started as a unique and humble concept to bring some country music to the city, to watch the festival grow into a multi-award-winning event with a loyal tribe of fans makes the Groundwater CMF team incredibly proud.”

Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe congratulated organisers on the 10th year of the Groundwater Country Music Festival.

“This award-winning music festival has become an icon in its own right as one of the Gold Coast’s must do, bucket list visitor experiences,” Hinchliffe said. “Last year more than 20,000 music fans experienced the Groundwater Country Music Festival, generating more than $9.4 million for the Gold Coast visitor economy. The unbeatable tourism combination of beach and country is why the Palaszczuk Government continues to back Groundwater as a major feature of our It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar.”

Since its inception a decade ago, the Gold Coast’s Groundwater CMF has become a beloved annual pilgrimage for country music fans from all over Australia and the globe. With three days of free live music by the beach featuring the country’s best country music stars, it’s no surprise the festival has earned a loyal following of fans and artists alike over its 10-year run.

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