He has an Irish sound, a digeridoo playing side-kick and is based in Japan. Tim Scanlan, the winner of the Tamworth Country Music Festival Busking 2017 competition, brought the sounds of the world to this year’s competition.
An enthusiastic crowd was on its feet during Saturday night’s final. Toe-tapping turns from Scanlan, Singelton siblings Vevyla and Newcastle Americana group Whistle Dixie turned Toyota Park into a party zone.
It was Scanlan’s third trip to Tamworth for the music festival – the first time, in 1999, he managed to miss it entirely as he got the dates wrong.
“The first time I hitch-hiked here from down in Gipplsland. That was ages ago, when I was 19,” he said.
“That was before the internet was really a big thing and I didn’t have the right dates. I ended up arriving just as everybody was packing up their tents and going home. I came back 10 years ago and I didn’t bring an amlifier busking. That was the biggest mistake of my busking career on Peel St.”
The 37-year-old has been based in Japan for the past three years and repeatedly runs the gauntlet of the police, who move on buskers every 20 minutes. In Tamworth there was no need to move him on. He perservered through rain and bleaching sunshine to wow on the Boulevard of Dreams.
Runner-up in the competition was Hester Fraser aka Goldheist, last year’s people’s choice winner, from Armidale and Melbourne, with her single “You were there”, about suicide prevention.
Third place went to former X-factor competitor and Tamworth-born blues singer Roshani, who sold her house and with her partner has been busking their way around Australia.
The crowd favourite, and the winner of the People’s Choice Award,was Kimberley Gold, from Halls Creek, WA. The rockers had the crowd whooping with “Johnny Be Good”.
The other top 10 finalists this year were:
Molly Millington: Central Coast. The 16-year-old, who won the 2017 FretFest, has been writing songs since she was 11
Smoke Hazard: Port Macquarie, Gold Coast, New Zealand. The members, including last year’s runner up Andrew Cousins, have been to the festival before but the trio only formed this year.
Rory Phillips: Tumut. The cheeky 10-year-old charmed the Toyota Park crowd, spruiking his voting number and performing a song about his life. It was 3min 20 sec. It’s been a short life so far, he told the crowd.
Whistle Dixie: Newcastle. The quartet, who formed in 2015, recently released 2 EPs of their sassy vocals and swinging country, bluegrass and Americana beats.
Vevyla: Singleton. The siblings brought their upbeat Celtic folk music to the competition. Two fiddles, a guitar and a bodhran in the right hands played up a storm
The Mason Boys: Kinglake, (VIC), Luke Bryan meets Jon Bon Jovi. Their modern country/rock ended the night on a wall of sound.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.