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A regional festival like no other
Crookwell Country Weekend has announced its fun-filled program for the regional festival like no other, a massive event taking over a tiny town in the heart of the Upper Lachlan Shire on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19.
Crookwell’s centre will be on show over two days, and Saturday will see a massive eight-hour concert at the Crookwell Showground.
The Upper Lachlan Shire Council, with support from the NSW Government’s Reconnecting Regional NSW Program, has created an incredible weekend event for all ages, on a scale never before seen in the region. It aims to attract locals from the Shire and visitors from surrounding New South Wales regions, giving a much-needed boost to local businesses while showcasing the many reasons to visit and explore this hidden gem.
With the gates opening to the festival camp sites on the Friday afternoon at 4.30pm, weekenders looking for an early autumn getaway are encouraged to pack a swag, hitch their van or book a ready-made glamping site and enjoy two nights of Crookwell hospitality and entertainment. Campers can book two nights – or one, for those preferring a Saturday overnighter – with prices starting at $65 per site.
Friday nights in Crookwell are lively with its classic pubs and cafes offering delicious country fare, live music and a traditional meat raffle. As the curtain opener for the Crookwell Country Weekend, the town’s famous Ensemble & Co, a unique collective of boutique traders set within the grand Arcadia building, will host a fashion parade, complete with a welcoming glass of bubbles and nibbles included in the $20 entry fee.
The Saturday festivities kick off at 8.30am, with free entry for all.
Crookwell’s main street boutiques and cafes will be open for business and the pavements of Main Street and Spring Street lined with Australia’s best buskers, performing throughout the morning as part of the festival’s lucrative busker competition. The talented hopefuls will be vying for the first-place cash prize of $3000 and a runner-up prize of a two-day recording package at the Old Binda Recording Studio in Crookwell, worth a total of $1600 and with accommodation included (if required).
Hume Conservatorium are also providing a prize for talented juniors which will include a recording session and an opportunity to perform in one of their performances.The daytime competition will be judged by a prestigious panel of Catherine Britt, Geoff Bell of Laing Entertainment and Roger Corbett, General Manager of the Australian Country Music Academy, board member of the Country Music Association of Australia and also a founding member of the iconic Australian bush band, The Bushwackers.
The morning will see the streets closed to traffic for the opening street parade at 10.00am, with community floats, vintage cars and motorcycles, performers and more parading along Goulburn Street from Colyer Street to Roberts Street.
Absolute Beaut Ute competition
And what would a celebration of rural life be without paying homage to the iconic ute? The Crookwell Country Weekend Absolute Beaut Ute Competition invites ute owners to come from far and wide to show off their four wheeled beasts for a chance to win $1000, with runner-up prizes to be announced. The utes will be on display in Spring Street from Goulburn Street to Robertson Street, with judging taking place at approximately 11.30am.
Make sure you don’t miss calling into Lindner Socks, a small family business which uses its forebears’ 300-year technique to expertly knit and hand-finish every sock produced at their store, using the highest quality Merino wool sourced from local farmers. Visitors can witness the craftsmanship of Andrew Lindner, using vintage machinery brought to Australia from Germany by his parents, Wilfred and Gisela.
At the Crookwell Showground, gates open at 12.30pm and the food trucks, Stockade Bar and merchandise stands will be ready for festival goers to start pouring in and get prime position with their picnic blankets and chairs. Get ready for eight hours of live music between 2.30pm and 10.30pm, from some of this country’s finest artists, culminating in a massive fireworks show.
The incredible line-up promises an experience to remember for all ages, starring the coolest daddy of them all, Ross Wilson – fresh from his 50 Years Of Eagle Rock tour and country boy turned Aussie music legend Shannon Noll.
The two music icons will be joined by Isaiah Firebrace – one of the world’s most-streamed First Nations artists, Australia’s country music darling, Catherine Britt, our best-known and best-loved bush band, The Bushwackers and rising country music star, Brittany Maggs.
The concert will be capped off by the awe-inspiring pyro-musical, The Colours of the Outback, which has never been staged at a regional event before. It’s a spectacular 15-minute performance of pyrotechnics, flames and amazing visual imaging all synchronised to live music by the legendary Top End artist eMDee, who has vibed crowds at festivals like East Coast Blues & Roots with his unique didgeridoo and high-energy stage show.
Concert tickets have been kept incredibly affordable with tickets just $25 for under 18’s, $50 for seniors and concession card holders, $75 being the full price for adults. Group booking discounts means a family of six (four adults & two children) is just $190 and groups of four adults can attend for just $63.75 per ticket. Tickets are on sale through trybooking.com.
And just like that, the Crookwell Showground will be transformed from music festival to a colourful country fair in celebration of Australian rural life through the ages … a jam-packed day for the whole family with ticket prices just $10 for adults and $5 for children under 17 (free entry for three years and under).
Gates open at 9am, with re-stocked food trucks, merch stand and Stockade Bar coming to life again, amidst a hive of entertainment, activities & market stalls.
Jugglers, acrobats, stilt walkers and Bushrangers will be roving the crowds throughout the day, while kids can have their photos taken with friendly animals such as Heffner the Alpaca and Charlie the Brahman.
The main stage will offer a rotating schedule of entertainment: ‘Once Upon A Jumbuck’ – a 30-minute play performed by the Crookwell Amateur Dramatics Society (CADS), live music from the previous nights’ concert acts The Bushwackers as well as eMDee, bushranger re-enactments by the 7th Light Horse Gundagai Troop, depicting A Desperate Affray, utilising a Cobb & Co Royal Mail Coach from Travealy Horse Drawn Carriages, which will also be available at the event for rides.(follow Crookwell Country Weekend on Facebook for session times).
A very special must for kids and readers of all ages takes place at the Visitor Information Centre stand at 10.30am, when Isaiah Firebrace will spend an hour signing copies of his best-selling children’s book, Come Together: Things Every Aussie Kid Should Know About The First Peoples, with copies available to purchase on the day.
Back on the main stage, busking finalists will have one final chance to impress the audience and competition judges on the main stage at 11.30am, with the winner and runner-up decided upon by 12.30pm.
On display for the day’s entirety will be pioneer working demonstrations from the draught horse, bullock and camel teams, Rural Fire Services fire trucks and vintage machinery demonstrations.
The pavilions will also be bustling with market stalls and historic photography on display.
Adults and kids alike will enjoy the camel rides, hay wagon rides and a rare opportunity to ride in a true piece of Australian history, the horse drawn Royal Mail Coach. Add to this, children’s activities including face painting and a huge inflatables zone and it’s clear that Crookwell Country Weekend is an event not to be missed.
For inquiries about becoming a stall holder, or to enter the Crookwell Country Weekend Busking or Abolute Beaut Ute Competition, phone 02 4832 1988 or email email@example.com.
Crookwell Country Weekend is an Upper Lachlan Shire Council initiative, funded by the NSW Government’s Reconnection Regional NSW program.
By Jason Dinsmore
View all articles by Jason Dinsmore
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