Melanie Dyer noticed a big difference when she took to the stage at CMC Rocks Queensland this year.
The young singer-songwriter first played the festival two years ago, but since then she has released her debut album, and in front of the crowd of thousands which sold out this year’s event, she performed to fans who knew the words and sang along.
“It was in the heat of the day but it didn’t stop anyone from coming up. We had a mosh pit going and it was awesome,” Dyer said.
It was her second performance at last month’s CMC Rocks, which included some of the world’s biggest country music stars and Dyer said her first appearance at this year’s event also attracted a big audience.
That was late in the afternoon on Thursday, March 15 - the day before the festival officially starts on the main stage - but with 10,000 campers already there, Dyer took to the stage in the campers bar at 5.30pm for an hour-long set.
“It was packed to the brim and spilling out the sides of the marquee, so they were ready for a good time,” Dyer said.
This year was her second time playing at CMC Rocks, after she played at the festival for the first time two years ago.
“At that stage I just had my EP, Lifetime, and I did the Sunday spot. You pay your dues and you work your way up to get the better spots,” she said.
With her debut album Fresh released last year, Dyer has had three singles released. Firstly, the title track was released to radio and a video clip recorded, followed by the catchy Save My Cents, then her current single Dreamcatchers, which is opening track from the album.
“It was cool to see people singing along in the crowd, they knew the words. It was a bigger and better experience than last time,” Dyer said.
The festival itself is also growing, with a record crowd attending the three-day event, although it was tinged with some sadness this year.
“It was the first year since we lost (festival promoter) Rob Potts, so his son Jeremy who is now CEO, he did a fantastic job, and Anne Phillips and the whole team. Everything ran smoothly and it was so much fun.”
Now Dyer is looking forward to a big year ahead, which will include a fourth single - and third video clip - from Fresh, which she said has been narrowed down to a couple of choices.
She will also reunite with fellow rising star Caitlyn Shadbolt this year. The pair toured together last year to promote their respective debut albums, and they plan on joining forces again this year.
Dyer will also return to Inverell, for a hometown launch of her debut album.
“We’ve got a couple of venues that we’re thinking of. It will depends what sort of show we want to do, whether it’s a full band or an acoustic show, so still a few things to work out, but I’ll have more dates up on Facebook soon,” she said.
In between those gigs, Dyer will also start writing songs for her sophomore album release.