HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY MUSIC CLUB
When a few mates gathered around a campfire having a few drinks and talking Country Music, they never could have foreseen how their idea would change their small farming community of Boyup Brook.
The town of only around 1500 people has since worn the boot prints of some of the biggest names in Country Music in Australia and has become known as the Country Music capital of Western Australia. From its humble campfire beginnings, the Country Music Club of Boyup Brook WA Inc. has come to be a vital part of the town’s identity, history and purpose.
The first Boyup Brook Country Music Festival was held in 1986 on the town football oval to an audience of around 500 people. Among the musicians was Rose Carleo, who has continued to carve out her place in the Australian Country Music scene, and Steve Hill, who had gone on to establish a recording company in Bunbury.
The Festival has attracted growing crowds with around 12,000 visitors descending on the small town over the four days. Over the past few Festivals iconic artists such as Sara Storer, Troy Cassar Daley, Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey, John Williamson and Lee Kernaghan have graced the stage at Boyup Brook and many emerging WA Country Music artists have kicked off a successful career from the Festival.
The four-day event incorporates the West Australia Country Music Awards, which provide budding musicians with a chance to gain recognition, network with industry professionals, showcase their work and broaden their audience.
The Festival has come a long way in those 30 plus years. After being held on the football oval for the first 17 years, the Festivals growth necessitated a new venue. The Music Park was purpose-built for the Festival, with government funding, Shire support and help from local builders and volunteers and was officially opened by John Williamson in 2007. Built in a well-shaded area on the banks of the Blackwood River, the park has become a well-loved part of the town and an iconic location for Country Music lovers and locals.
Originally just a dirty, scrubby area, with many days and years of hard work, the park has been transformed with reticulated lawns, electricity, permanent fencing and a sound shell complete with a kitchen and green rooms.
The four-day event incorporates the West Australia Country Music Awards, which provide budding musicians with a chance to gain recognition, network with industry professional, showcase their work and broaden their audience. The Festival also includes many fringe events such as concerts, workshops for children, adults and industry hopefuls, a street carnival, the WA Bush Poets breakfast, a Sunday morning gospel concert and a morning show at the iconic Harvey Dickson’s Country Music Centre.
In 2004, the Festival also introduced the Boyup Brook Ute and Truck Muster, which has since become a favourite for many.
The Boyup Brook Art Awards were first held in 2010 as part of the Festival, bringing even more of the arts to town.
The family friendly event has something for everyone, with an atmosphere of fun, friendship and true country spirit.
Over the years, the Country Music Club of Boyup Brook WA Inc. has gained national recognition for its work, receiving several awards, including the Australian Country Music Club of the Year (2002), National Community Link in the arts category (2000, 2002), and Regional Achievement & Community Events and Tourism awards (2007, 2015). Several Club members have also been recognised nationally for their work and in 2008, the Festival topped the RAC magazine’s Events and Festivals list.
There have been a lot of changes since the Club’s birth around a campfire but some things have stayed the same. The love of Country Music that brought the Festival that has come to mean so much to a small farming town, still drives it’s existence; the mateship that was present in the beginning still underlies the purpose and atmosphere of the Festival. And the community that became known as the County Music Capital of WA still supports the Festival and welcomes visitors with open arms.
We sincerely thank all of the members of our organising committee for their hard work and dedication to the Festival.
President – Jason Forsyth
Vice President – Daly Winter
Secretary – Sue Emmerson
Treasurer – Malcolm Armstrong
Music Director – Donna Forsyth