IT’S been Tamworth’s biggest cocktail party since 2013 and it’s back on the festival calendar for 2018.
Racy & Lucky Country Music Cocktails will see fans and stars rubbing shoulders to kickstart the festival.
This year the event is even more exciting for fans, with a strong international flavour among the more than 30 artists appearing.
Canadian group, The Dungarees, who in 2016 took out “Project Wild” with a prize of $100,000 in cash and support, will perform their first Australian show at cocktails.
Fellow Canadian Amy Nelson will also perform for the second consecutive year hot off her 2017 chart success and new record deal with Social Family Records.
“The international component of cocktails is very exciting as we see the event’s reputation growing outside of Tamworth,” organiser Perrin Finlay-Brown said.
“We want to be as inclusive as humanly possible. We want the best talent available.”
The premise of country music cocktails is for fans of all ages and artists to mingle in an intimate setting of the SSS BBQ Barns Steakhouse in Tamworth’s family atmosphere.
“Stepping into the room at cocktails, for those who have been before, is like slipping on a pair of comfortable pair of ugg boots and seeing old friends,” Mr Finlay-Brown said.
“The event feels like family, and it’s always great to welcome new family members.
“As well as the drinks, the food is always amazing with Graham and Marlene Manvell having hosted it four out of the five times and always delivering a five-star experience.”
Mr Finlay-Brown said the idea for the event came about for two main reasons. The first was to give artists a chance to network and relax at the start of the festival. The second was to provide fans with a taste of the Golden Guitars after party where artists are seen wall-to-wall.
“I attended the Golden Guitar Awards after-party in 2012 and it felt like a real live version of CMC because you were surrounded by all these artists and I wanted to recreate that for the fans who come along,” he said.
The artists involved also love the chance to play to new audience members and mingle with their fans.
“The artists and the fans are very close to each other and the way we’ve designed it, it’s almost one artist to three fans in the room, so that’s a pretty cool ratio,” Mr Finlay-Brown said.
“It’s a great taste test to start your festival because you might discover someone you didn’t know and you can get to see more of them later in the festival.
“We have had loads of young talent on the event since 2013 and we love promoting this component.
“Caitlyn Shadbolt was one of our future stars two of the years, as was Liam Kennedy-Clark who is now touring with Lee Kernaghan and is back to play for his third year.
“Some of those younger acts have had opportunities they might not have had because of cocktails and they’ve played to fans who have paid to be there and take in the music.
“We’ve also got those artists who have performed every year such as Aleyce Simmonds, Roo Arcus, Kristy Cox, Travis List, Liam Brew and Kirsty Lee Akers who co-hosted the event this year in Broadbeach with Ben Sorenson. So, she’s gone from playing every single one to also co-hosting.”
- The Racy & Lucky Country Music Cocktails is held at SSS BBQ Barns Steakhouse, Craigends Lane, Tamworth from 11am on Saturday, January 20. Tickets from moshtix.com.au