Star Maker finalists at Tamworth Country Music Festival

2017 Star Maker winner Rachael Fahim will perform at the 2018 Toyota Star Maker grand final.
2017 Star Maker winner Rachael Fahim will perform at the 2018 Toyota Star Maker grand final.

Ten of Australia’s top emerging country artists will vie for the honour of becoming the 39th Toyota Star Maker in a winner-takes-all, free musical event at Toyota Park, at next month’s Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Toyota Star Maker continues the tradition as the main event of the first weekend of the festival in Tamworth, and will be held on Sunday, January 21.

For the second time in its long history, and thanks to the support of Toyota, this event will be free to the public, with all 10 finalists being judged on the night, and one winner emerging.

In January this year, it was held free in the park for the first time.

The winner will receive a prize package which includes the use of a new Toyota motor vehicle and an unlimited fuel card for 12 months, plus guaranteed performances at major festivals and events throughout Australia.

Toyota has a long and proud history of supporting country music in Australia, including 23 years of sponsoring the emerging artists of Star Maker and 26 years of the overall country music festival in Tamworth.

Among the exclusive Star Maker alumni are Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, Beccy Cole, James Blundell, Darren Coggan, Travis Collins, Kylie Sackley, Samantha McClymont, Kirsty Lee Akers, Kaylee Bell and many more.

The 2018 Toyota Star Maker finalists, chosen from across the country, are:

  • 1 Brad Cox, Jindabyne, NSW, Snowy Mountains
  • 2 Cassidy Rae Gaiter, Flagstaff Hill, SA
  • 3 Emily Joy, Sorrento, WA
  • 4 Hayley Wilson, Aspley, Qld
  • 5 Heath Milner, Mackay, Qld
  • 6 Jake Sinclair Springhurst, Vic
  • 7 Tammy Moxon, Hermit Park, Qld
  • 8 Tanya Cornish, Tintinara, SA
  • 9 Taylor Pfeiffer, Walkerville, SA
  • 10 Chloe Styler, Gold Coast, Qld

Toyota Star Maker co-ordinator Cheryl Byrnes said it was always a joy seeing who applied for Toyota Star Maker each year.

“Within the industry, the quest is a highly-respected vehicle and there are any number of aspiring artists wanting to emulate the feats of previous winners such as Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan and Beccy Cole,” Cheryl said.

“It’s the ideal platform for artists to showcase what they have. It’s the perfect jumpstart to any career, with the $100,000 prize package that goes along with the prestige of the title.

“Many of the benefits of being part of the Toyota Star Maker family are intangible – but absolutely priceless. The networking among the past alumni and the current crop of Star Makers is extraordinary. You can’t put a price on that.”

Toyota Australia’s Corporate Manager Marketing Integration Andrew Wearing said he was delighted to continue Toyota’s support of Star Maker.

“It’s a wonderful thing that Star Maker continues to be accessible to a worldwide audience through livestreaming in the park. Toyota is delighted to be able to present the event absolutely free to the public,” Mr Wearing said.

“This company is very proud of its long association with such a prestigious quest and we offer our hearty congratulations to the 2018 finalists.

“It is a pleasure to play a role in launching another new career onto the Australian country music scene. We wish all the finalists the very best of luck.

“Toyota has a long legacy supporting rural and regional Australia. Toyota Star Maker is yet another way we continue to show our commitment to the bush.” 

One winner will be decided on the night from the top 10 finalists.

Darren Coggan, who won Star Maker in 1996, returns as the esteemed compere and there will also be a performance by outgoing 2017 Toyota Star Maker Rachael Fahim.

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