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Wentworth Visitor Information Centre

Wentworth Visitor Information Centre

29 Sep - 08 Oct 2017

Australias largest Independent Country Music Festival.

When Australian country music fans talk of the festival biggies, the Mildura Country Music Festival rates a mention alongside the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Gympie Muster as one of the big three.

What that means is a seemingly unending cast of highly talented professional country music artists who arent signed to major record label deals.

The Independent factor gives Mildura a very different complexion, and its a successful formula that has worked admirably over past years. In 2008, more than 100 individual artists and groups entertained over the 10 day period, and the roster comprises many award winners including Golden Guitar finalists and Star Maker winners. But then, when you consider that the Independent artists make up probably 95 percent of performers in the country music industry, and the calibre and achievements of the artists is well documented, it strikes home that there is a huge well of talent out there.

A large proportion of the artists performing at Mildura have highly successful recording and touring careers and big fan bases throughout Australia. With names like Amber Lawrence, Craig Giles, Amos Morris, Lou Bradley, Reg Poole, Victoria Baillie, Don Costa, Peter Pratt, Owen Blundell, Terry Gordon, Tracy Killeen and Carter & Carter, you can gather a truckload of chart hits, popular albums, and recording and songwriting awards.

What Mildura has steadily developed is something that draws thousands of fans on an annual pilgrimage that would make many non-music lovers scratch their heads in bewilderment. Often driving thousands of kilometres, the fans converge on this beautiful destination on the banks of the legendary Murray River for ten days of virtually non-stop country music, and the Mildura Festival has steadily built is own culture through the years. Its become the Mecca for the empty-nesters – the mature age couples whose kids have flown the coop, the ones who have the time to set out for two or three weeks holiday, and most importantly, those who have a deep love of the music.

The wonderful part about Mildura in September is that not only is it country music heaven, its also a great holiday destination.

The fans love the freedom of Mildura, and the value-added factor. For a start, virtually all the musical entertainment is free and the majority of the shows are multi-artist concerts. If you were paying, the value is certainly there, but in this free environment, everythings a bonus. The variety is amazing, with everything from high standard talent quests like the Top of the State, or the Victorian Champions of Champions, to crowd-winners like the Poets Breakfasts or the Country Duos.

The venues, 22 in all, spread from the City Mall providing all-day entertainment at central city venues in Mildura to outlying locations like Wentworth, Merbein, Red Cliffs, Coomealla, Irymple, Buronga and Gol Gol. Every taste is catered for with Line Dancing, Country Rock, Bluegrass, Bush Ballads and daily Walk Ups for those not on the program.

The jewel in the crown for the past twelve years has been the live concert and radio presentation of the Southern Stars – The Australian Independent Country Music Awards, now presented by Neighbourhood Cable & Grapevine that recognise the achievements of the Independent recording artists during the past year, and this years entries are sure to again endorse the status of the event. Many previous finalist and winners like Felicity Urquhart, Darren Coggan, Travis Sinclair, Drew McAlister and Carter & Carter have also won Golden Guitars, with some notable successes like 1999 Independent Award winner Brendon Walmsley, James Blundell and Dianna Corcoran being multiple Golden Guitars winners.

The culture of Mildura has built up on a real family factor, and that applies equally to the artists as well as the fans. There is a noticeable lack of urgency and panic during the festival, because if you miss a planned event on one day, you can usually catch up later in the week. The excitement factor is still there, but theres an element of control built in – and thats why the enjoyment factor is just as evident on day ten as the start. And the reason the artists enjoy it so much is that its ten days of music, friendship and fun. Mildura is really a level playing field – no star billing, no support act tag, and certainly no room for egos.

Underpinning the festival are local radio stations HOT FM 106.7 which broadcasts 19 hours of country music daily as part of its normal music format, and Festival Radio 92.3FM which broadcasts a 24 hours per day country music format during the Mildura festival, focussing on the music of artists appearing at the Festival.
Further information and programs can be obtained from 1800 039 043.

Entry Cost (AUD): Free
Event Venue: Various
Wentworth township -various locations 2648
Event Times: Various events from 10am to 11pm daily
Facilities: Entertainment
Contact: Karen Arnold
Telephone: 03 5027 5080

View All Wentworth Accommodation

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