Thanks for the back-up

THE Tamworth Country Music Festival has some great supporters in the music world – two of the biggest being Fender Australia and Sleishman Drums.

For many years now, both Fender and Sleishman have been providing the “backline” at venues right across the festival – amplifiers for guitars, bass and keyboards, so the performers don’t have the onus of lugging additional equipment from gig to gig.

If you didn’t see Sleishman drums at the festival this year, it’s a fair bet you heard them.

Managing director David Sleishman said Sleishman drum kits were installed at six major venues – Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park), TRECC, Tamworth Town Hall, the Capitol Theatre, Legends Lounge at Wests and at the Tamworth Services Club.

Sleishman’s relationship with the festival dates back to 1993 where, with help from Peter Harkins of Cheapa Music, David’s father Don began providing his hand-built drums as backline equipment to key events and showcases around the city. 

Since then, the company has formed a great relationship working with the Golden Guitar Awards and Toyota Star Maker.

David has played a personal role in the festival since 2001 as drummer in Medicine Wheel, the band behind Golden Guitar winner Luke O’Shea.

This year was a major milestone for Fender Australia, celebrating the 20th year of the Fender Super Jam.

Fender has provided the backline all over town for many years and their involvement is an essential, but largely unsung, part of the festival story.

World-renowned guitar guru Greg Koch and one mighty fine band kicked off the whirlwind Fender Roadshow tour last Friday, showing off all the latest gear at concerts in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Their final stop on the tour is tonight in Perth. Thanks, Fender. We love your work.


TAMWORTH country singer Patti Morgan came back from the Bungendore Country Muster with a little excess baggage, but she didn’t mind at all.

Patti was the delighted recipient of the female vocal award at the Stan Coster Memorial Bush Ballad Awards with the Norma O’Hara Murphy-penned composition, The Old Cattle Dog.

That song is one of five on Patti’s latest EP, Stranger In My Dreams, produced and engineered by Steve Newton at ENREC Studios, Tamworth. 

“I’ve done really well with that little EP,” Patti said yesterday.

“It got me into the finals at the Gidgee Awards at Pittsworth and I won an award for it at the Goomburra Country Music Stampede, near Allora in Queensland.

“I also won a Brumby award – the female vocal for bush ballads.”

All of those achievements have occurred in such a short space of time and for Patti, it’s a little hard to comprehend.

Prior to this, her last foray in the winners’ circle was in 1978 when she won the CCMA National Talent Quest.

“I never would have dreamt that would all happen in a couple of months,” she said.

“Bungendore is a great little festival. It was stinking hot there, but very successful all the same. There were a lot of people there, many of whom made their way from the Tamworth festival.

“It’s been going for 29 years now, so next year should be a big one for their 30th anniversary.”

Winning the award with that particular song, which Slim Dusty recorded some years ago, was pretty special for Patti, too.

“I learnt Slim’s version of the song and when I’d sing it, my old blue cattle dog used to curl up in front of me, like he knew what it was about,” Patti said.

“He’s gone now, but I still think of him every time I sing the song.”

Patti is one of the artists on the Clarence Valley Country Muster in October and next month, she will feature at the Country Music Shindig at Lostock Dam, alongside Kellie Cain, Tracy Coster and the Untidy Sidies, among others.

Patti and her husband Peter (Bluey) Summers have been the mainstays of the Makeshift Strictly Country Music Jam held on the last Saturday of each month at West Tamworth Sports and Bowling Club for the past 12 years.

Patti said they always get a good crowd who come along because they know what they’ll get is “strictly country”.

“It’s not all bush ballad music, but it is country,” Patti said.

“We always have a good night. We haven’t had a flop yet. Visiting musicians are always welcome and we love to play to an appreciative audience.”


WHEN Wendy Gordon threw open her farm gate to host the first Clarence Valley Country Muster in a hamlet north-east of Grafton last November, she had her fingers and toes crossed it would work. It wasn’t so much a muster – more like a stampede – with hundreds of people from North Queensland to Victoria and the western districts of NSW pouring through the gates.

They came by campervan, caravan and coach for the three-day event that coincided with Grafton’s Jacaranda Festival.

The timing couldn’t have been better – and the tiny community of Calliope hadn’t seen a crowd like that since the first horse race meeting was held in the area 147 years ago. 

Lured by 20-plus country music performers, local produce and good old-fashioned country hospitality, the fans just kept coming. 

Wendy’s dream that it would become an annual event has come true, with the next festival planned for October 31-November 2.

Clarence Valley mayor Richie Williamson is one of Wendy’s biggest supporters and said the event had the potential to become the biggest in the Northern Rivers area of NSW.

From the positive feedback Wendy received at the inaugural event, she’s pretty confident it will continue to grow.

 “About 95 per cent of people who turned up have told me they’re coming back,” Wendy said.  “We had 115 vans in the paddocks last year and indications are that that figure will double this year. We are expecting up to 1000 people.”

And festival goers will notice some exciting changes to the rural venue.

Half a dozen large cattle sheds being erected on Wendy’s property will become music halls and food stalls. 

Campers will be guided to their sites along pathways such as Terry Gordon Boulevard and Ted Egan Street.

Proceeds from a major raffle to be held throughout the festival will go to Camp Quality, to help children with life-threatening illnesses.

“We’ve had some fabulous raffle prizes donated already, so it’s going to be great,” Wendy said.

Other innovations this year include a bush poets’ breakfast and a recording package from KrossKut Records to the winner of the walk-up artist competition.

Artists featuring on the 2014 bill include Glenn Jones, Terry Gordon, Lindsay Waddington, Ray Essery, Ged and Trudy Hintz, Dianne Lindsay and Peter Simpson, Tom Maxwell, Dave Prior, Suburban Country, Errol Gray, Billy Kearns, Keith Jamieson and Alisha Smith, Patti Morgan, Ken  “Chainsaw” Lindsay and Dale Duncan.

Gates to the property open on October 27, with fees set at $90 for the week to camp there. Day passes to the festival are $30 and evening passes are $15.

For details and bookings, phone 6644 8012 or 0432 741 947, visit their Facebook page or the website

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