Australian High Country Music Festival in Glen Innes

SUMMER SONGS: David Cowlishaw and Don Garrad are two of the organisers of the Australian High Country Music Festival held in Glen Innes and surrounding towns.
SUMMER SONGS: David Cowlishaw and Don Garrad are two of the organisers of the Australian High Country Music Festival held in Glen Innes and surrounding towns.

A music festival taking place in Glen Innes, which wraps up over the weekend.

The Australian High Country Music Festival ties in with the high country theme to promote the region, and includes several genres of music, including jazz, blues, country, folk and gospel.

“Just about everything except rap and heavy metal,” quipped one of the organisers David Cowlishaw.

Mr Cowlishaw and another Tamworth man, Don Gerrard, organise the festival along with Steve Mepham from Llangothlin, which started in 2015.

“We came up here and said to the council we want to run a little busking (festival) in July,” Mr Cowlishaw said.

“The gentleman we were talking to at the council went out the back, came back about two minutes later and said you can have the whole street and put on a full festival.”

While it went well the first year, 12 months later Glen Innes suffered through freezing cold weather for three of the five days the festival was on, which prompted the organisers to move it to January. 

Now in its fourth year, it is held in the early January and one of the main venues is a mobile stage set up at Glen Rest Tourist Park just south of Glen Innes, with other concerts taking place at hotels in town.

“Our biggest problem is getting sponsorship, as you can probably appreciate,” Mr Cowlishaw said. “Because we do it all for charity we get nothing out of it, apart from a bit of fun and games.”

When the festival started in 2015 it was a fundraiser for New England Volunteer Air Transport.

While that service is no longer around, the festival has since hosted fundraising concerts for community radio stations in the area, and that has seen concerts held in Tenterfield over the previous two festivals, and another one in Inverell last year.

Talks have already taken place with the community station in Armidale to hold a concert there in the future, and Mr Cowlishaw said an awards show will be held in Inverell next year during the 2019 festival.

“Once we get a following and build it up, there will be different places you can go,” Mr Garrad said.

This story How a small music festival is growing across northern New England first appeared on Glen Innes Examiner.

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