Australians everywhere have been touched by the story of Dolly Everett and as a show of support for Dolly’s Dream Foundation Toyota Country Music Festival organisers encouraged festival goers to wear their Akubra hats at the bush ballads concert in the Park on Wednesday night.
Back to the Bush – Super Bush Ballad Show is one of a series of concerts held in the park each evening of the festival.
“Dolly’s Dream” aims to raise awareness of bullying, anxiety, depression, and suicide, and Festival Manager Barry Harley said he hopes that this initiative by the Festival will play a small part in helping to raise that awareness.
There were plenty of Akubras in the crowd, not to mention those worn by the performers.
All of Australia’s best balladeers were at Wednesday’s night’s concert, including Jeff Brown, Keith Jamieson, Reg Poole, Dianne Lindsay and Peter Coad and The Coad Sisters.
Troy Cassar-Daley was a crowd-pleaser, performing the Slim Dusty classic, The Biggest Disappointment.
The son and daughter of Slim Dusty, David and Anne Kirkpatrick were also there, and Anne performed Three Rivers Hotel with her son and daughter-in-law James Arneman and Flora Smith, who are in the band Small Town Romance.
Performers played one song each. Watch John O’Dea sing his song:
The genre began in the early days of Australian country music, when Tex Morton and later Slim Dusty recognised the appeal of first-hand accounts about experiences in the bush.
While individual bush ballad shows have always been popular at the festival, it was not until the Back to the Bush concert was first held in the park three years ago, that so many artists came together to play ballads in front of a crowd of thousands.
It was first held at the 2015 festival after organiser of the balladeers show Peter Simpson, and his wife Dianne Lindsay, put the proposal to Tamworth Regional Council.
Mr Simpson said 34 artists played at the concert, which he said was all about promoting the genre.
“The concert achieved exactly what we wanted it to do, and that’s promoting bush ballads, and adding to the variety of music at the festival,” Mr Simpson said.
He said all the artists donated their time to play and the concert concluded with all of them on the stage together to sing We’ve Done Us Proud.