Country star back by popular demand
Ever since her Whitsunday performances in 2013, Airlie Beach Festival of Music fans have been clamouring for Kasey Chambers to return.
That wish has now been granted, with the announcement the country star will appear on the 2018 line-up, along with her father Bill.
Airlie Beach Festival of Music founder Gavin ‘Butto’ Butlin said Kasey was “the only major headline act we’ve ever asked back” and this year he revealed a special twist.
“That first year we got a lot of calls and enquiries about how kids could see Kasey, but they couldn’t because the festival is an 18-plus event,” he said.
“So this year, as well as her main stage set on the Friday night, she’ll perform a special set with the Hillbilly Goats on the Saturday morning, for all the kids in the district to attend.”
Mr Butlin said this was about growing the event as well as getting young people interested in music by giving them a chance to experience the big tent and festival atmosphere.
For Kasey it’s exciting to return to an event she has an established connection with.
“My Dad has played it many times since and it’s one of our favourite festivals to play,” she said.
“I really loved the relaxed, laid back vibe of the festival when we played last time; it felt like a real music lovers crowd.”
Alongside Kasey on the festival’s third line-up announcement for 2018 is iconic Australian rock band The Ted Mulry Gang.
Catapulted to fame as the first Australian artists to knock Abba from the number one spot in 1975, the Ted Mulry Gang’s first major hit ‘Jump in My Car’ spent 11 weeks at number one on the Australian singles charts.
Another legend set to be honoured at the event from November 9-11 is Phil Emmanuel.
“Phil had a special band put together for the festival so we’re going to bring them up and have some special guest artists play with them in a fitting tribute to our friend,” Mr Butlin said.
Last but not least of the latest main stage acts to be announced, Electrik Lemonade are looking forward to whipping up the crowd.
Band manager Jake Dickinson said following their highly successful sets at Wintermoon and a tour currently taking in the Perisher Peak Snow Fest, Melbourne and WA, the band were already looking forward to returning to paradise.
“We love the place – you’re on the Great Barrier Reef! People travel from all over the world to visit you and we get paid to be there – it’s unreal and it’s going to be a big party from the moment we hit the stage,” he said.
Tourism Whitsundays General Manager Tash Wheeler said these latest additions to the line-up all pointed to a standout year, and particularly with the inclusion of the kids’ event.
“We live in a transient region and a lot of people don’t have support mechanisms to allow them to have babysitters all the time so hopefully this will give them a taste of the festival and the ability to introduce our young people to a variety of music,” she said.
“It’s also very fitting to see the Phil Emmanuel Band on the line-up – Phil has been a supporter of the festival since its inception so it’s nice to see his band returning this year and ensuring his legacy and commitment to the festival and the destination will live on.”
Mr Butlin said the line-up announcements weren’t over yet.
“We’re in negotiations with one of Australia’s top pop divas so stay tuned,” he teased.
“In the meantime, I think this is one of our strongest line-ups yet – we’ve got more headline acts than ever across the whole three days.”