Now that Australia has atleast a little handle on the pandemic, country festival are coming back! Here's a list of whats on and what's not!
From the legendary Stagecoach Festival in California, USA to the far regional town of Birdsville in QLD for the Big Red Bash, up to the iconic C2C Festival in Europe and back down to Queensland for CMC Rocks, major country music festivals in 2019 were an absolute powerhouse, sitting entirely in their own league. With line-ups that collectively included some of the most sought after names in live entertainment, country music events were able to draw in as many eyeballs last year as The Mona Lisa. In 2020 however, it’s been a totally different story.
With a global pandemic causing varying degrees of chaos around the globe, CountryTown has decided to put together a comprehensive list of major music events that have been postponed, cancelled or are pushing steadily ahead in the next 12 months.
Originally set to kick off its inaugural year on October 01 2020, the brand new country music event for Queensland was one of many casualties to the global pandemic. But, working closely with local authorities and artists, the event managed to push ahead as the world’s first COVID-Safe Country Music Festival (in a slightly different format) and later announced that it would return to Tropical North Queensland in 2021, packed with globally recognised talent.
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With a line-up that features some of Australia’s top-tier country music performers, including music icon Lee Kernaghan, Aussie legend Casey Barnes, Busby Marou, acclaimed group The McClymonts and Fanny Lumsden, The Savannah In The Round Festival is shaping up to be one of the best country music events of the new year.
When: October 01 - 03, 2021
Where: Cairns, QLD
Who: Casey Barnes, Busby Marou, The McClymonts, Fanny Lumsden, Felicity Urquart The Buckelys + more
The iconic Tamworth Country Music Festival, often regarded as the most important country music event on the Australian calendar, made an official announcement in early September that the 2021 event would, unfortunately, no longer be going ahead, due largely to the effects of COVID.
In a statement listed on the Tamworth Country Music website, the festival states that “While the Festival itself will not proceed in 2021, the annual presentation of the Country Music Awards of Australia, the Toyota Golden Guitar Awards, will still go ahead. The Awards that are the longest standing music awards in the country, will be delivered via an online stream on the night, and the ABC will continue to be the broadcast partner for the Awards.”
Artists have faced an extremely challenging year, but many have continued to work hard and release new music, under the most difficult of circumstances, and we want to pay tribute to them by hosting a remarkable event, that is streamed far and wide so that everyone can experience the best of Australian country music.
The Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth, is one of the best Festival experiences on offer. It is the country’s most prominent supporter of Australian country music, and it will be back to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.”
When: 14 - 23 January, 2022
Where: Tamworth, NSW
CMC Rocks is the biggest international country and roots festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Period. Constantly delivering an explosive array of international and national country music superstars, over three massive days and nights CMC has retained its position as one of the most important country music events in the world.
In March however, Potts Entertainment, Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring made the announcement that CMC Rocks would unfortunately no longer be moving forward in 2020, releasing the following statement:
"Despite our very best efforts to move CMC Rocks QLD to later in the year, we have had to make the incredibly difficult decision to cancel the 2020 event altogether.
As you can imagine, we are beyond disappointed for everyone involved; our artists, suppliers, staff and team, but most of all our loyal fans. With no certainty in the current climate, and the situation changing daily, we are unable to deliver the festival we’d like for our CMC Rocks family this year.
We’d like to thank our CMC Rocks community for their support and understanding during these challenging times.
Take care of yourselves, your friends and family, and we look forward to seeing you all in 2021!"
Set in stone details are still up in the air, but the event organisers have recently issued a ticket update for the 2021 event, which can be seen on their website.
When: March 2021
Where: Ipswich, QLD
While it might not strictly be a country-music festival persay, Queensland’s most recent live music event - Feedback Festival - is locked in for December 2020 and it’s shaping up to be a damn good time!
Set to take over 10 venues throughout the Gold Coast over ten nights, Feedback Festival is designed to bring a broad array of different music styles to one of the most scenic cities on earth.
For more information on who’s playing, what venues are involved, how to snap up tickets (before they inevitably all sell out) and which events are free for the entire family, head over to Feedbackfestival.com.au
When: Dec 03 - 13
Where: Gold Coast, QLD
Who: Karl S. Williams, Tim Freedman, Benny D Williams, Russell Morris, Black Rabbit George, Jeff Martin + More
After a hugely successful sold out event in 2019, the world’s most remote music festival was set to return with its biggest ever lineup of iconic Aussie rock acts in July 2020; Paul Kelly and many other Australian music legends were scheduled to hit Outback Queensland’s Simpson Desert for the 2020 Big Red Bash, until COVID managed to take hold of yet another country music event.
Earlier in the year the event organisers issued a statement explaining that “It is with heavy hearts that we are announcing today that the 2020 Big Red Bash has been cancelled. This decision is based on our utmost focus on ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved in the event from patrons, crew, volunteers, artists, vendors and local communities. We know this won’t be a surprise given the current coronavirus situation. It’s now very important that everyone stays home and stays safe.”
With a line-up that features Paul Kelly, Ian Moss, Tim Finn, Shannon Noll, John Williamson and Thirsty Merc, Big Red Bash was just far too good not to move ahead in 2021. New dates for the rescheduled Big Red Bash are now slated for July 2021. For more information, head to the website.
When: 06-08 July, 2021
Where: Simpson Desert, QLD
Who:Paul Kelly, Ian Moss, Tim Finn, Shannon Noll, John Williamson and Thirsty Merc + More
With more than 100 artists, performing in 5 venues, over 4 days, The Gympie Music Muster is Australia’s original and best camping and music experience. Staged deep within the natural surrounds of the Amamoor State Forest, The Muster showcases a mix of country, roots, blues, folk and rock music as well as workshops, bush poets, kid’s club and more.
Originally set to host a huge line-up of homegrown talent in the stunning Amamoor State Forest from 27 – 30 August, event organisers announced that the 2020 event would no longer be moving ahead, later announcing that The Gympie Music Muster would be proceeding in 2021 instead.
When: 26-29 August, 2021
Where: Amamoor, QLD
One of Australia’s fastest-growing music festivals, Groundwater Country Music Festival (formerly Broadbeach Country Music Festival) saw over 70,000 people attend the three-day event in 2019, offering up over 130 continuous hours of entertainment alongside one of the world’s most stunning locations.
Usually considered a staple event for the Gold Coast, the event was unfortunately placed in a ‘watch and wait’ position back in March, before officially being grounded on May 27, 2020. Event organisers have yet to announce a set in stone date for 2021, but have hinted at mid-to-late July.
To stay up to date with all of the news surrounding Groundwater, head over to their website.
When: July 2021
Where: Gold Coast, QLD
Winton’s Way Out West Festival - Confirmed
For the past few years the far regional town of Winton has exploded with life, as the Way Out West Fest continuously brought world-class lineups to a town with less than 1,000 people. With past headliners that include AFL Superstars Sheppard, Amy Shark, The Living End, Brett Eldredge, Jon Pardi, Lime Cordiale and more, Winton has proven itself beyond being just a big fish in a small pond.
Event organisers recently issued a statement, saying that “While the COVID-19 crisis has certainly presented some challenges to the festival and tourism industries, the silver lining is that Australians will be eager to explore the parts of their own country they are yet to visit, and the legendary Outback town of Winton will no doubt be high on their wish list.”
Winton recently announced a stellar line up for its 2021 event, featuring HUGE acts from around Australia. For all the info, head over to their website
When: 06 - 11 April, 2021
Where: Winton, QLD
Who:Sheppard, Daryl Braithwaite, The Wolfe Brothers, Casey Barnes + more