As Telstra’s Road To Discovery approaches the business end of proceedings, the competition made its way down to the seaside town of Queenscliff, Victoria, where the 18 talented musicians would go head to head in the semi finals. Situated along Australia’s scenic south-eastern coastline, the Queenscliff Music Festival provided the perfect backdrop to showcase the talents of the finalists alongside celebrated artists such as Lisa Mitchell, Missy Higgins, You Am I, Gurrumul and British India.
This stage of the competition saw the group of artists from all over the country vying for a spot in the final ten, singing their hearts out for the chance to perform at the boot scootin’ good time that is the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival. The musicians performed in front of a live audience and five industry judges, who marked each performer on vocal ability, personality, originality, stage presence and demonstration of future potential.
The semi finals were female-dominated from the get go, with top notch performances from Gabrielle Wright (pictured in the purple dress below) singing Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and Genevieve Chadwick (pictured with the hat) wowing the crowd with her energetic performance and her blues and roots attitude. Although there were only a fewer male contenders, it didn’t stop the likes of Morgan Bain belting out a killer original song.
By mid-afternoon, the competition wasn’t the only thing heating up, with the mercury reaching a sweltering 34 degrees as the Telstra Road To Discovery finalists were announced shortly before Indigenous artist Gurrumul took to the stage. As people sought shelter from the blistering sun at the Lighthouse stage, Gurrumul’s fragile yet powerful voice hushed the crowd into silence.
Another crowd pleaser was the adorable Lisa Mitchell. Performing a few new songs from her new sophomore album, Mitchell finished her set by giving the crowd her sing-a-long hits “Coin Laundry” and “Neapolitan Dreams”.
Unlike some of its brothers and sisters in the Australian music festival scene, Queenscliff Music Festival is thriving thanks to its unique chilled beach vibe and the laidback crowd it attracts. Now in its 16th year, the festival shows no signs of faltering. A massive congratulations goes out to the ten finalists who will be heading on to the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival:
Gena Rose Bruce
Sarah Raine Dyson
Images by Brian Purnell with words by Brian Purnell and Nikki Brogan.