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AUTUMN 2013 NEWS from Jim Haynes

Tamworth and Port Fairy Festivals

What a busy time it has been since Tamworth! Once again the Bush Laureate Concert and Big Bush Brekky Variety Shows were a great success. The morning shows were hosted by the amazing Katelyn O'Donoghue and old mate Darren Carr was funnier than ever. Special guests like Amber Lawrence, Aleyce Simmonds, Carter and Carter, Troy Cassar Daley and Wayne Horsburgh delighted the crowds every day.

At Port Fairy the 'Our Land Is Girt By Sea Concert' - with myself, Danny Spooner, Dennis O Keeffe, Dennis Taberner, Peter Mace and Stephen Whiteside was a great success ! The audience sang along and laughed and cried. People kept telling me all weekend how much they enjoyed it. Having the concert before our workshop on Maritimne History, 'Ringed With Menace', was a great idea as people came to the workshop to find out more about the things we sang about and mentioned in the concert.

The True Blue - Banjo Versus Henry Versus C J Dennis - was also a great success - well attended and actually VERY FUNNY. The audience voted Henry Lawson the greatest Aussie Poet - even though my evidence and argument for The Banjo was bullet proof!

 

Amazing Response to Stone The Crows

We were thrilled with the response to the inaugural Stone The Crows Festival and gReyVee Awards, held near Wagga Wagga over Easter.

About 100 hundred vehicles were expected, but over 260 vehicles arrived for the five day event, with crowds of around 650 attending the concerts.

The festival is designed as a celebration for all Grey Nomads and unlike many events for Grey Nomads, Stone The Crows is not vehicle specific and the unique spirit of camaraderie was a feature of the five days.

Motor-homers joined caravanners, owners of 'poptops', converted buses and campervans, to compete at various sports such as Disk Bowls, Petanque, Ladder Golf and 'Stoning the Crows'. There were talent quests, dancing classes, trivia competitions and seminars and workshops on everything from playing the ukulele and songwriting to embroidery and computer skills.

Each day started with a concert of Bush Verse and comedy in the 'Wagga Wagga Caravan Centre Marquee' with myself and 'The limping Poet', Neil Smith. There was a song every morning from the amazing fifteen year old Katelyn O'Donoghue as well as heats in the competition for verse recital and yarn spinning.

Then Katelyn conducted her 'Moove and Groove' dance classes in the Pitstock Hall. After that the heats of the Disk Bowls, Petanque and Ladder Golf ran all afternoon, as well as seminars and workshops on just about everything! The 'Stoning of the Crows' on Easter Monday attracted over 80 entries and was great fun.

The main concert on Saturday evening featured Country Music legend Wayne Horsburgh, Grant Luhrs, Katelyn and myself. The 63 piece band from Wagga Wagga's German sister city of Nordlingen was an outstanding feature of the Open Day on Easter Monday and Mike Jackson ukulele workshops on Thursday were great fun. In an amazing result the exit survey score for entertainment and activities averaged a satisfaction rating of 95%.

The gReyVee Awards, designed to showcase the expertise and skills of the over 50s, were presented in 20 categories on Monday evening. 'External' categories, photography, embroidery and verse writing, were included, as well as the sports and activities conducted over the weekend.

Frank Clarke, from Lalor Park in Sydney, took out the best overall gReyVee Award, having won the Ukulele section and also been a member of the Best Musical Group, Frank was a runner-up in the 'Stoning of The Crows' event and a semi finalist in the Disk Bowls.

This unique festival is now well and truly established as a feature of Easter in Wagga Wagga. It is a truly unique celebration of the fellowship, skills and abilities of our older citizens.

It can only be bigger and better next year!

Another Fantastic 'BACK TO THE TIVOLI' Tour

I have just returned from another hugely successful 'Back To The Tivoli' tour with ex-Delltone Wayne Cornell, Singer/Dancer Sharon Cabrallo, Baritone Adam Scicluna and impressionist Chris De Havilland. We sold out the big auditorium at Kedron Wavell RSL and the even larger Twin Towns RSL twice.

It's always a pleasure to tour with Wayne and old friends like piano player Barry Heidenreich, it's amazing to think I have worked with Barry and some of the great variety artists for close to 30 years!

New Book Soon

BEST BUSH STORIES

I am thrilled with my latest book which is a collection of stories from so many great Aussie writers called 'The Best Australian Bush Stories'.

Many of the great stories in this collection have been out of print for years and they are such wonderful stories about the humour and heartbreak and way of life in the bush.

More on this soon, when it hits the book shops. It will also be available as a talking book by the end of the year.

OFf to Melbourne

This week I am taking a break from entertaining and writing and heading to Melbourne for the Art Fair, held in the beautiful Melbourne Exhibition building. My passion and 'hobby' is Australian Art and we may even get to an AFL game, as well as art galleries.

AND THEN .....Off To Charters Towers Festival

On May 3rd I head way up north to the Charters Towers Country Music Festival. This is the biggest of the North Queensland Festivals and the Talent Quest section is probably the largest in Australia.

I am really looking forward to meeting old friends and catching up with many graduates from the Academy of Country Music. Far North Queensland is much warmer than Melbourne at this time of year!

I will be back in North Queensland again in June and October for the Hughenden and Pioneer Valley (Mackay) Country Music Festivals.

Cruisin' Country

A few days after the Pioneer Valley Festival we head out to sea again on the beautiful Rhapsody of The Seas for the best time you can have afloat!

With Lee Kernaghan, Troy Cassar-Daley, Amber Lawrence, Gina Jeffreys, Adam Harvey, McAlister Kemp and a host of other great mates and artists!

I can't wait!

Cheers,
Jim

Check out Stone the Crows Festival - held at Wagga Wagga - Every Easter

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