The 15th annual Gum Ball returns in 2020 for three days over the school holidays: April 24 to 26. Also, the first line-up has been revealed.
Coming to Dashville, a bushland property at Lower Belford in the Hunter Valley, is The Church, Harts plays Hendrix, iOTA, Dyson Stringer Cloher, Frazey Ford, Steve Smyth, Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, Okenyo, Lost Ragas, Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird, Coda Chroma, M.E. Baird, SON, Eagle Eye Jones, Tori Forsyth, Lachlan X. Morris, Jones The Cat, Palomino, The Soul Movers and Buddy Dingo.
There are more artist announcements to come, as well as a line-up of comedy performers, professional skateboarders, and food and market stalls. Tickets are on sale now through Humanitix, with booking fees helping Nutrition for Aussie School Kids.
Rising star joins The Academy
Piper Rodrigues, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Gwandalan on the Central Coast, has just been given a significant career boost. The University of Newcastle student is one of 28 promising artists to have been accepted into The Country Music Association of Australia's prestigious The Academy.
The aspiring country music artist, whose influences include Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Kacey Musgraves, released her debut EP Lost or Found in January.
The Academy's senior course is a two-week intensive music and business course run in Tamworth prior to the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January. Students learn about all aspects of the music business from top industry insiders.
"The Academy is a premier educational opportunity for those wanting a career in the music industry," director Lyn Bowtell said. "We have welcomed more applications than ever, making student selection even more competitive."
The Academy's general manager Roger Corbett said students "found their tribe" during each course: "As well as the world-class tutors, songwriters and industry professionals that the students are able to meet and learn from, the relationships they form are priceless for their development as artists."
Song of hope wins praise
Newcastle's Dave Wells has demonstrated his songwriting talent by finishing second in the 2019 Listen Up Music Song Writing Competition with his song Cold Rusty Cage. Listen Up Music is a mental health and music charity that promotes music's unique ability to unite and heal.
"Cold Rusty Cage was a very deep and personal song to write and record. I'm so glad that it has been recognised in support of mental health advocacy," Wells said.
"The songwriting theme was based on 'Songs that Heal' and I felt that this track was a true reflection on mental health - being trapped or too scared to reach out for help. However, melodically and with the use of certain tone colours, the song becomes a heart warmer.
"Lyrically, the song is an internal cry for help. The need and desire for one to feel and find a sound state of mind; a plea to the everyday world for acceptance. Anyone that experiences a mental health issue can easily feel trapped, ashamed or afraid to talk. The song was inspired by first-hand experiences with close family members. When I sing this song, I think of them, always. Compositionally, Cold Rusty Cage - through the deep and obscure percussion and arco bass to the soft and melodic lines of the vocals and flugelhorn - expresses that there will always be someone out there ready to listen."
Wells plays his final gig of the year at The Stag & Hunter Hotel on December 14.
Kiwi punk rock
Bakers Eddy have announced a gig at The Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle on Thursday, December 26. The Wellington punks who now call Melbourne home recently joined the Ivy League Records family and have released two singles over the past couple of months: On My Own and Can't Afford It. This is the band's biggest tour to date, having won rave reviews at Bigsound Festival.
Booty Camp tour
Sydneysiders Bootleg Rascal are coming to Newcastle in January as part of their 15-date national tour, Booty Camp: Summer Vacay Tour. Seventeen exciting emerging artists will join the line-up along the way, including the likes of A.GIRL, The Bambuseae Rhythm Section, Deadshowws, Drop Legs, Fresh Violet, Grace Grove, Liv Li, Muddy Wolfe, Nelipot, R.em.edy, Richysand, Saint Lane, Saint Spook, T$oko, Timi Temple and Venice Queens. In between artist sets the audience will be entertained by Bobby Dazzler's Sideshow Alley, complete with quirky crowd participation games like Pinger Pinata, Wheel of Misfortune, Pin the Toupee on Trump and Nah Yeah or Yeah Nah. Jimmy Young and Carlos Lara formed Bootleg Rascal in 2013 and have released several singles, an EP and two albums.
Celebrity golf line-up
Celebrity watchers (and golf lovers), the 41st annual Jack Newton Celebrity Classic is on at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, December 16 to 18. This year's line-up includes Wally Lewis, Wendell Sailor, Matt Hall, Shannon Noll and Busby Marou.
A woman in demand
Whitebridge's own Geraldine Viswanathan continues to win respect - and roles - in Hollywood. Her critically acclaimed film Hala makes its debut on Apple TV this week, and the hilarious Blockers is streaming now on Netflix. She filmed Bad Education with Hugh Jackman and has been working on season two of Miracle Workers with Daniel Radcliffe as well as The Broken Heart Gallery with fellow Aussie Dacre Montgomery. What a talent this former Hunter School of the Performing Arts student is. Down to earth and lovely, too.
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