The Queen of Country Music is coming to town with her 'Better Day' World Tour. Her tour dates span 8 November-1 December 2011. Current concert dates are:

  • Nov 08 Perth, Burswood
  • Nov 12 Adelaide, Entertainment Centre
  • Nov 15 Sydney, Acer Arena
  • Nov 19 Hunter Valley, NSW Hope Estate
  • Nov 20 Hunter Valley, NSW Hope Estate
  • Nov 22 Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
  • Nov 23 Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
  • Nov 25 Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
  • Nov 26 Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
  • Nov 27 Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
  • Nov 29 Sydney, Acer Arena
  • Dec 01 Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena

Dolly Parton, the acknowledged Queen of Country Music, was born on January 19, 1946 in Sevierville, Tennessee into what she called, in her own words, a “dirt poor” family. She was the daughter of a tobacco farmer, and they lived in a rustic, dilapidated one-room house. One of twelve children, she often had to wear clothes which her mother had to sew out of rags. She sings about their poverty in her hit song “Coat of Many Colors” and she recounts how her mother had to boost her spirits regarding this coat of rags by telling her the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. She has kept this coat and it now hangs in a museum in her theme park Dollywood.

Ranked in 1998 by Nashville Business as the wealthiest country music star, Parton has kept the memory of those days alive as her inspiration to share the fortune built up in the course of her career with those less fortunate. The linchpin of this philanthropy is the Dollywood Company through which she invested much of her earnings in her native East Tennessee. Like many places in the Appalachian region which have always been economically depressed, Parton's investments helped uplift the area. Partnering with the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, she became co-owner of the theme park Dollywood, which is the 24th most popular theme park in the USA.

In 1996, she set up the Dollywood Foundation. Partial to charities which encourage literacy, the Foundation established and runs the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. An enrolled child receives one book every month from the time it is born to the time it enters kindergarten. Naturally, the program started in Sevier County but it has expanded to 566 counties in 36 states in the USA. Overseas, the program has been installed in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Every year, the Library distributes over 2.5 million books to children, all for free.

In 2006, Parton contributed $500,000 to a new hospital and cancer center in Sevierville. She also staged a concert attended by 8,000 people to raise funds for the hospital, named after Dr. Robert F. Thomas, the physician who delivered her. In addition, she has worked on fund raising events to help the American Red Cross and charities involved in HIV/AIDS programs.

Parton's generosity has not gone unnoticed. She was given a Partnership Award by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in recognition of her efforts to preserve the bald eagle. Among her other awards for

philanthropic activities are the Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; AAP Award from the Association of American Publishers; Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the first time it was ever awarded to an individual; Galaxy Award given by the American Association of School Administrators; the Chasing Rainbows award from the National State Teachers of the Year; and the Child and Family Advocacy Award of the Parent and Teachers National Center.

In 2009 the little girl who had to go to school in a dress made out of rags delivered the commencement speech at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's College of Arts & Sciences and was awarded a Doctorate of Humane and Musical Letters, honoris causa, the second honorary degree ever given by the university.

The Tenth Annual

Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival

21st - 23rd October 2011

Ranked as one of the most popular country music events in Australia, the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival was conferred the status of a Regional Flagship Event in 2011 by the New South Wales Tourism Council as an acknowledgement of its being a “premier acoustic music” event. Scheduled for October 21 – 23, 2011, the festival is a three-day celebration of Folk and Bluegrass music with concerts, workshops, square dances, jamming around the campfire and a lot of fun for the young and not so young. Surprising for an Australian country music event, alcohol, tobacco and pets are not allowed at the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival.

For a long time, it was thought that the town's name was given by the explorer Major Edward Parke after an opposing Spanish general named Don Dorrigo (which undoubtedly explains the name of the town's present day newspaper). Actually, the town's name was derived from the Indigenous Australian word for “stringy bark”. Dorrigo, situated on the Dorrigo Plateau almost 800 meters above sea level, was settled in the 1860's by timber cutters looking for Red Cedar. Logging, which was the area's original source of revenue, was eventually replaced by the dairy industry. Today Dorrigo is a town with less than 1,000 people.

A quiet, friendly old country town, Dorrigo has many art galleries and cafes and the whole place exudes an old world charm. A picturesque place, Dorrigo's natural attractions include the cascading Dangar Falls and the Dorrigo National Park, 11,732 hectares with an abundance of tropical flora and fauna. There, one can find old buttressed figs, giant tallow woods, many Australian cedars and over 250 species of plants. The place is also home to many native birds, like lyrebirds, pitas and bowerbirds. At the park's Rainforest Centre, an interactive display presents the evolution of rain forests and provides an insight into animal and plant life there. Lookout vantage points offer a spectacular view of the Bellinger Valley. The Dorrigo Steam Railway and Museum is also located in the town. A private collection of railway vehicles from government and private sources, it is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival will be holding its tenth event this year. A magnet for many of Australia's old-time, folk and bluegrass musicians, the festival prides itself in being a relaxed, friendly occasion for the whole family to enjoy and learn. In the Myrtle and Currajong tents, many workshops are held covering the fiddle, old-time banjo, vocal harmony, bluegrass banjo and song writing presented by experienced performers. Special workshops for children are conducted for things like Bollywood Dance, singing and storytelling.

Among the featured artists at this year's festival are: Bluegrass Parkway, The Bushwackers, The Lurkers, Coolgrass, Hunter and Suzy Owens, Ami Williamson, Barefoot Folk Orchestra, Dear Orphans, Spot the Dog, Evan Mathieson, Iness Campbell and Present Company, Fat Wombat, Ewan McKenzie Duo and Shiny Top Strings.

Just some of the featured artists for 2011 are:

  • Bluegrass Parkway
  • The Bushwackers
  • The Lurkers
  • Coolgrass
  • Hunter and Suzy Owens
  • Ami Williamson
  • The Barefoot Folk Orchestra
  • Dear Orphans
  • Spot the Dog
  • The Perch Creek Family Jug Band
  • Ewan MacKenzie Duo,
  • Innes Campbell & Present Company
  • Big Bug Trio,
  • Fat Wombat

Visit their website for more information

Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival

The extraordinary singing talent of Adam Brand is beyond question, as evidenced by the numerous awards and trophies he has won. But the most valuable trophy for Brand to date is one that he won not by singing.

Brand signed up for our 2009 Dancing with the Stars reality show. The show, which has won the Television Industry's Logie Award, was launched in 2004 and averaged 2 million viewers a week.

After making it to the 2009 finals of the show, Adam and his partner Jade Hatcher defeated the show favorites Matthew White and Ash-Leigh Hunter. The latter were given a perfect 30 score by the show's judges, but the overwhelming public vote for Adam and Jade determined the outcome. Adam, who candidly admits that he did not expect to win, danced on behalf of the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia. His choice of a charity was inspired by his sister's son, Harry, who succumbed to the disease when he was two and a half years old. As if winning the show's trophy was not enough, Adam went for an ever bigger one and married Jade on May 31st 2010.

Adam, born Adam Alberto Bruno, in Perth, on January 27, 1970, is the son of a travelling salesman. He started playing drums when he was 10 before moving to Sydney in 1977. There, influenced by artists such as Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen and Kris Kristofferson, he released his first album which shot up to No. 44 on the ARIA charts earning a Platinum certification. In 1999, Brand was nominated in five States at the Country Music Festival in Tamworth and won three CMAA awards for Song of the Year, New Talent of the Year and Video Track of the Year. In the same year, he won the Johnny O'Keefe Encouragement Award at the Mo Awards.

In 2000, Adam received another Golden Guitar and in 2001 three more for Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year. He also received another Mo Award for Male Country Performer of the Year. In the meantime, Brand continued to add to his list of hit albums with either Gold or Platinum certifications. His highest-charting solo album to date “Blame It On Eve”, released in 2008, climbed to No. 1 of the Australian country charts and No. 10 on the national charts. This was followed the next year by “Hell of a Ride” which climbed to No. 2 on the country charts and No. 19 on the National Album charts.

After winning Dancing with the Stars in 2009, Adam visited Nashville for the first time. He signed up with the Sony Music label Arista for his first single “Ready for Love”.

With his singing success, Adam Brand has certainly much to dance about. He is touring currently with his "THE BRAND WAGON TOUR" - The Brandwagon Tour will sell out fast so get in early to see one of Australia's favourite sons tear up the stage. Special guest for the tour will be singer-songwriter Sam Hawksley. Check our the gig guide to see where he is playing near you! Gig Guide-Events Calendar

Adam Brand Website

In a beachside village in the Western Suburbs next to Port Adelaide, there's a music festival staged every year that has something special for every music lover. The Semaphore Music Festival, held on the October Labour Day Long Weekend has long been recognized for the high quality of its music acts, whether they're performed by young, emerging artists or recognized professionals.

The four-day event,a valuable opportunity for original singers and songwriters, has developed its own unique culture and personality. The festival features everything from rock 'n roll high school bands, alt. country music, blues and indie rock staged in various venues like the Semaphore Workers' Club, Palais Hotel, Semaphore Hotel, Semaphore Port Adelaide RSL and the Exeter Hotel.

Aside from the musical performances, the Semaphore Music Festival holds master classes, workshops, forums and panel discussions featuring recognized artists eager to share their knowledge and talent with up-and-coming musicians and music fans. Musical instruments are given their due with a Music Instrument Makers' Exhibition and a Luthiers' Panel. The audience and artists are given the chance to familiarize themselves with the various kinds of instruments through sessions and workshops with groups like the Adelaide Ukelele Appreciation Society.

To make the occasion a really long weekend of fun, a variety of food is served in cafes, pubs and fine dining restaurants on the Esplanade and Semaphore Road, as well as in stalls on the Foreshore Reserve. The stalls also sell a wide range of merchandise so you can squeeze some shopping in between free gigs and workshops, CD launches and the concerts.

The September 30 – October 3 festival will feature the Australian roots music of Broderick Smith and Matt Walker, the wide-ranging sounds of The Yearlings, singer-songwriter Sara Tindley and Tamworth Songwriters' Award winner Melody Feder. Also lined up to perform at the Semaphore Music Festival are Danny Hooper, the John Baker Suite quartet, The Torinos blues band, The Rustlers, the Adelaide trio Brillig, JoE mAn MuRpHy band, Heather Fran Trio, The Fiddle Chicks, Don Morrison, bluebilly band Prawnhead and many more.

A special of the festival is the Semaphore Songs Project. Artists Heather Frahn, Don Morrison, Soursob Bob, Mick Kidd, John Baker, Emily Davis, Matt Swayne & Elizabeth Reid, Cal Williams Jr., Melody Feder and Glenn Skuthorpe will write songs based on memories about this part of South Australia.

Viewed from any angle, the Semaphore Music Festival is poised to live up to its reputation as one of Australia's most popular music festivals.

Semaphore Music Festival

Alongside the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Gympie Muster, the Mildura Country Music Festival is considered one of the largest in Australia. What makes the Mildura festival so different is that it features only independent country artists – those who have not signed up with record labels – and that it lasts for 10 days practically free of charge for all visitors.

How Mildura got its name is still uncertain, although it could mean either “red earth” or “water rock” from Indigenous Australian words. The first Europeans came to Mildura in 1857, raising sheep on the area's rich pasture lands. The town went through some hard times from an economic recession to a rabbit invasion before it started to grow and prosper. In 1934, Mildura became a city. Although its population has been growing rapidly, Mildura with over 30,000 residents is still a sparsely populated city. The tallest building is a three-story structure that dates back to the 1920's.

Recognized as the center of Victoria's Food Bowl, Mildura is a major producer of citrus and supplies 80% of Victoria's grapes. There are major wineries in Mildura and the area also ships grapes to wineries around the country. Tourism is a major source of revenues for Mildura and its location along the Murray River makes it popular for water sports, paddle steamers and boat cruises. Its dry, still climate also makes it a favorite for hot air balloon activities highlighted by the Mildura International Balloon Fiesta.

Then there's the country music festival where over 100 artists and groups perform and vie for the Southern Stars, the Australian Independent Country Music Awards. This year, the 25th Mildura Country Music Awards will be held from September 30 – October 9, 2011. Since 95% of country music performers in Australia are independent artists, a long list of talents is expected at the event. Many of them are past awardees as well as Star Maker and Golden Guitar winners. Most of the artists have highly successful recording careers and large fan bases all over the country. They can boast of chart-busting albums, record hits and songwriting awards.

Held over 20 venues from the City Mall to surrounding locations like Wentworth, Red Cliffs and Gol Gol, the festival features a wide range of activities from line dancing to country rock, bluegrass and bush ballads. There are talent searches like the “Top of the State”, Victorian Champion of Champions and crowd favorites like the “Girls' Night Out” and the “Rockabilly Show”.

The festival atmosphere is an added plus. Because the event is spread out over ten days, it is characterized by a “no-rush” ambiance even while it maintains the level of excitement. This is what makes the Mildura festival appealing to anyone wishing to indulge their passion for good, entertaining music. This relaxed tone extends as well to

the artists who enjoy ten days of relaxation and music as much as the festival fans do.

Mildura Country Music Festival 2011