UP DOC - THE WHITTLESEA COUNTRY FESTIVAL
BY DR FIONA STEWART
PIX BY DR STEWART AND HEATHER RUTHERFORD
2004 Whittlesea Country Music Festival was indeed the smash hit the
This small, friendly festival is now in its 4th year, beginning life
in Kyneton but shifting since to the north-east fringes of Melbourne.
Unlike the big festivals of Gympie or Port Fairy, Whittlesea has not
yet commercialised itself into oblivion.
is nothing wrong with a bit of sponsorship, there is something very endearing
about a small, local festival that can still get the big name acts.
At Whittlesea 04, the headliners included Smoky Dawson, 91 on March 19,
and 32-year- old Troy Cassar Daly and everyone in between.
Nu Country radio announcer/ producer, Heather Rutherford, ventured out
on the day to see what she could find.
for the 2nd big series of NU Country TV were Leslie Avril, one of
the Pigram Brothers, Laurel Edwards (wife of Troy Cassar-Daley) and
of course Troy.
Left off the list, but with tape constraints upon us were the new
best country band in the country Sovereign and the newest ringer-lookalike,
heart stopper Travis Sinclair.
Heather interviewing Laurel Edwards
is held at the Whittlesea show grounds.
The stage is on the back of a semi on the oval while the Truck and Ute
show sets up around the sidelines. And what a show that was.
"I think we got us a convoy" was a bit of an understatement.
If you ever wondered, trucks are huge in Whittlesea, the way it should
be (especially given Travis Sinclair's penchant for truck and train songs
Our only disappointment was that the big rigs all cleared out before we
made the most of our time, post interviewing, to do some inspections and
organise a photo shoot. We had our bikinis on and all.
back to the festival. The music was enthusiastically received, with
Troy winning the singalong of the day when he provided a strong lead
vocal to Slim's classic hit - The Biggest Disappointment in the
Family was Me.
And therein lies important lessons for all the young guns in the crowd.
If you wanna be cool, then you'll have to learn the words of Slim's
best as there is going to be a lot more Slim singin' as the years
Cassar -Daly with Laurel & Heather
No use sitting
there, bagging him as an quaint old timer. Nostalgia will get the better
of us yet and Slim is yet to see his salad days. And you heard it here
Brothers signed a fair few autographs. It seems the boys from Broome were
a bit of a hit with the local crowd.
Tour manager Helen Jedwab (ex Shane Howard manager) seemed suitably impressed
with the country cross over and concluded the trip south had been worthwhile.
There is no doubt, Whittlesea is a great little festival.
In terms of improvements, well we'd like to see a bit more line dancing
and a bit more diversity in the catering department.
The grog supply was excellent and the police were very friendly. The greenroom
staff were helpful, especially Merle who made everyone feel at home.
The open bar was a nice touch, no doubt appreciated by performers and
their support crews.
We'll be going back next year. Congratulations to the organisers for a
great weekend. Whittlesea is a well kept secret, lets hope they continue
for many years to come.
SECRETS - AND MORE
to the artists who shared the secrets of their success with Heather
in the heat.
Smoky explained the secrets of longevity, given his wife Dot is
96 and his horse Flash was a sprightly 35.
Leslie Avril gave inside glimpses into life as a 30 something female
country singer while bearing her soul on such sensitive issues as
men, money and music.
Dawson with admirers
gave us an inside look at what it's like to be the wife of superstar Troy
CD and how a gal maintains her independence in the face of hubby's popularity.
The Pigram Brothers talked about genres in music and emerging label of
"salt water country" that the Pigrams' are bolding claiming
as their own - along with a few other fellas up the tropics way.
And Troy, well he just thought he'd seen Heather somewhere before.
While Heather claims she's never been lucky enough to meet this hunk o
spunk before, she was overheard to be telling Troy that he'd featured
pretty regularly in her dreams.
Ah that's country.
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