The 25th anniversary of Hartwood Campfires and Country Music event, held over the Easter weekend April 6, 7 & 8 was a huge success. This was the biggest crowd to date and a far cry from the humble one day event in 1988 when just 75 people attended and the only professional singer was the organizer himself, Paul McCloud, with his mother Mavis and Aunty Jean telling poems and stories.
Fourteen artists this year represented a virtual “who’s who” of independent Australian country music artists. Local performers Rex Dallas and Brian Letton joined forces with Tasmanians Hank and Donna Koopman and Rino and Jade Morea to thrill the crowd. Dwayne Elix added a new dimension to the festival with his classy stage outfits and extraordinary banjo playing.
Tom Maxwell launched his latest video and Royden Donahue (of Parkes Elvis Festival fame) launched his latest CD of Love Songs, both of which were snapped up by the visitors eager to add to their vast collection of Hartwood artists’ music, whilst the ever popular Peter Horan sold out of his latest album. Comedy star Rodney Vincent, as always had the crowd rolling in the aisles while the beautiful voices of Michelle Little and Wayne Horsburgh were awe inspiring as they rang out across the hills and valleys of the Hartwood property.
Wandering Journalist, outback video maker and storyteller Monte Dwyer added some extra colour to this year’s event as he gathered information from the campers for his next major project, an expose of the phenomenon that is the Grey Nomads.
An historical display of the Hartwood Festival for the last 25 years was greatly appreciated by the first timers and the regulars alike. Many agreed that the Late Stan Coster’s words from 1994 were certainly coming true when he said, “Paul, one day Hartwood will become the most popular festival on the Australian country music calendar”.
Our campers are to be praised for thoughtfulness with the garbage and keeping the campgrounds free of rubbish. The Gunnedah Recycling Depot were very pleased with the sorting of the garbage. Thanks everyone.
If anyone has a photo of the campers, taken by Monte on top of his faithful motorhome, Claude, could they please contact Hele.
See you at Hartwood 2013
Hele & Paul