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


BEIJING, Sept. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Taylor Swift will be battling the boys at the 2011 Country Music Association Awards. Swift is one of four country stars with five nominations, including the CMA's top award, Entertainer of the Year.

Taylor Swift will compete with Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean and last year's winner, Br ad Paisley, in the Entertainer category. Aldean, Shelton and Paisley were the others with five nominations apiece. Zac Brown Band and The Band Perry were next with four.


The nominations marked a breakthrough for Aldean and Shelton, both first-time entertainer nominees and long overlooked at awards shows until recently. Like Paisley, Swift and Urban have each won an entertainer trophy before.


Singer Jake Owen and country trio The Band Perry made the initial announcement of five States in New York on Tuesday. Jerrod Niemann and two-time nominee Thompson Square announced the remainder of the nominees later at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Before Shawna Thompson of Thompson Square started reading the nominations, she thanked the CMA for asking them to participate in the announcement.


Shawna Thompson said, "As a kid growing up I watched the CMA Awards every year, and I can remember standing in the kitchen with a mason jar, pretending that it was an actual award, and to stand this close to one and to be able to read the nominations is amazing."


Swift is also up for female vocalist of the year with Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Sara Evans and Miranda Lambert, who won the honor last year on her 27th birthday.

Lambert's husband, Shelton, will defend his male vocalist of the year award this year against Paisley, Urban, Aldean and Kenny Chesney, who had three nominations.


The Band Perry will compete with Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band and Little Big Town in the vocal group category. And the sibling trio is nominated with Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Thompson Square and Chris Young in the new artist of the year category.


Coveted album of the year nominations went to Shelton for "All About Tonight," Aldean for "My Kinda Party," Swift's "Speak Now," Paisley's "This is Country Music" and "You Get What You Give" by Zac Brown Band.


Paisley and Carrie Underwood will host the award show for a fourth time live on November the 9th from Nashville.

(Source: CNTV.cn)




In a continent as vast and sparsely populated as this, the love affair between the Aussie and his or her four-wheeled animal is totally understandable. And because ranches, vineyards and other agricultural sites make up the life of many of us, the favourite is the utility vehicle, or “Ute” as it is lovingly referred to. “Muster”, the English word meaning a gathering of troops, has come to mean at different times in Australia a gathering of convicts, an assembly for census taking and a gathering of livestock to be branded. The Ute as folklore recounts, was made in 1933, because a farmer's wife wanted a vehicle good enough for work on weekends and to take her to church on Sundays. To showcase its love for this vehicle, Australians have created the Ute Muster. Held every year in many parts of Australia, it is part country fair, part car show, part festival, all with a fun-filled flavour that is uniquely Aussie.



At a Ute Muster, owners of hundreds of utility trucks gather to show off their vehicles and compete for prizes in different States like “best feral Ute”, “best rural Ute” or “best chick's Ute” comprising what is known as a Beaut Ute Competition. Lasting for several days, these events often feature agricultural shows, rodeos and music festivals. The Utes competing at these musters are painstakingly painted, decorated and personalized with lights, stickers and other add ons, creating a multi-million dollar retail business selling anything a Ute owner's heart could desire.


And, of course, whenever there's fun and laughter in Australia, there's country music. The Ute Muster in Deniliquin, New South Wales, often shortened to “Deni”, is the largest in the world with more than 10,000 Utes and a crowd of 25,000. In addition to the Ute competitions and bull riding events, it features live country music concerts where some of the most famous local country artists perform. The annual Caboolture Urban Muster in Queensland which stars country music icon Lee Kernaghan and a long list of country music artists and bands, is really a country music festival with a Beaut Ute competition.





Ute Muster organizers charge contestants a small fee, allowing them to participate in several competitive events. The Ute Muster is not only an economic boon for the region, but also a magnetic fund raiser for local communities and charities. In 2010, the Deni raised $13 million for the local economy and $18 million for the state of New South Wales.


Because many who attend the musters come from long distances, the larger events provide for camping and bar facilities which many people make use of and which contribute a significant part of the funds raised at the event.


Ute Musters are closely associated with B&S Balls since the latter are often organized by Ute lovers. The Deniliquin Ute Muster also features the Circle Work ChampionshipsTM where competing Utes are driven in tighter and tighter circles while going faster and faster. Bumper stickers, of which Ute enthusiasts are mad about, feature prominently in the event. At times, the most number of bumper stickers on a Ute may be the deciding factor in a Beaut Ute competition.




Deni Ute Muster


[FONT="]John Robert Williamson is a country singer and songwriter with a string of awards to prove it. But he also is or has been a farmer, television personality, band leader, activist, jingle maker, movie songwriter, conservationist, producer of a musical and a general ‘all rounder’. In 1992, Williamson became a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003, he was elected President of the Country Music Association of Australia. Leading up to that and beyond, he has accumulated forty years of service in and contribution to country music.


Williamson, born on November 1, 1945 in the Mallee district in the north western part of Victoria, was playing the ukelele at age 7 and the guitar by the time he was 12. When the family relocated to Moree in New South Wales in 1965, Williamson wrote his first song “Old Man Emu” which he sang in a local restaurant as part of his repertoire. In the program New Faces the song won first prize and a recording contract with Fable Records. As soon as it was released, the record shot to the top of the Australian music charts. Several other singles followed in the course of the next ten years.


In 1973, Williamson became the host of the television show “Travlin' Out West” which was on the air for two years. He formed his band “Crow” which, when it changed its style to rock, was renamed “Sydney Radio”. When the group disbanded, Williamson started to do the rounds of pubs playing solo. His songs, style and personality caught on and he built up a strong following. In 1985 he set up his own record label Gum Leaf Recordings. Then came his landmark album “Mallee Boy” which became a triple Platinum with many of the songs now considered as classics. Since the album was released, Williamson developed the preference to sing around a campfire. The Next year, Williamson was named by Variety Club “Entertainer of the Year” and in 1990, his [/FONT][FONT="]album “Warra[/FONT][FONT="]gul” won the ARIA Award as Best Australian Country Record.


[/FONT]
[FONT="]The 90's was a stellar [/FONT][FONT="]year in Willi[/FONT][FONT="]amson's career. His first family album won the Award for Best Selling Album and another, “Waratah St.” was a gold even before it could be delivered to stores. He was inducted into the Roll of Renown and his song “Sir Don” for our leg[/FONT][FONT="]endary batsman Sir Donald George Bradman was adjudged the Biggest Selling Album at the Tamworth Country Music Awards. The Next year, he and an Indigenous Australian friend won the Collaboration of the Year award at Tamworth. At the end of the decade, his album “The Way It Is” won three Golden Guitar awa[/FONT][FONT="]rds, becoming Gold after only eight weeks.[/FONT]

[FONT="]

[/FONT][FONT="]In 2003 Williamson sang “Sir Don” at the memorial service for Bradman in Adelaide. In October of the same year, at the request of the Prime Minister, he sang Waltzing Matilda at the memorial service for the 2002 Bali bombings. After Steve Irwin was killed in 2006, Williamson sang his songs “Home Among the Gum Trees” and “True Blue” at the memorial service for Irwin in the Australia Zoo Crocoseum.


In 2010, John Williamson was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to an artist who has devoted his life to making music a meaningful experience for people everywhere.

[/FONT]


[FONT="]John Robert Williamson is a country singer and songwriter with a string of awards to prove it. But he also is or has been a farmer, television personality, band leader, activist, jingle maker, movie songwriter, conservationist, producer of a musical and a general ‘all rounder’. In 1992, Williamson became a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003, he was elected President of the Country Music Association of Australia. Leading up to that and beyond, he has accumulated forty years of service in and contribution to country music.


Williamson, born on November 1, 1945 in the Mallee district in the north western part of Victoria, was playing the ukelele at age 7 and the guitar by the time he was 12. When the family relocated to Moree in New South Wales in 1965, Williamson wrote his first song “Old Man Emu” which he sang in a local restaurant as part of his repertoire. In the program New Faces the song won first prize and a recording contract with Fable Records. As soon as it was released, the record shot to the top of the Australian music charts. Several other singles followed in the course of the next ten years.


In 1973, Williamson became the host of the television show “Travlin' Out West” which was on the air for two years. He formed his band “Crow” which, when it changed its style to rock, was renamed “Sydney Radio”. When the group disbanded, Williamson started to do the rounds of pubs playing solo. His songs, style and personality caught on and he built up a strong following. In 1985 he set up his own record label Gum Leaf Recordings. Then came his landmark album “Mallee Boy” which became a triple Platinum with many of the songs now considered as classics. Since the album was released, Williamson developed the preference to sing around a campfire. The Next year, Williamson was named by Variety Club “Entertainer of the Year” and in 1990, his [/FONT][FONT="]album “Warra[/FONT][FONT="]gul” won the ARIA Award as Best Australian Country Record.


[/FONT]
[FONT="]The 90's was a stellar [/FONT][FONT="]year in Willi[/FONT][FONT="]amson's career. His first family album won the Award for Best Selling Album and another, “Waratah St.” was a gold even before it could be delivered to stores. He was inducted into the Roll of Renown and his song “Sir Don” for our leg[/FONT][FONT="]endary batsman Sir Donald George Bradman was adjudged the Biggest Selling Album at the Tamworth Country Music Awards. The Next year, he and an Indigenous Australian friend won the Collaboration of the Year award at Tamworth. At the end of the decade, his album “The Way It Is” won three Golden Guitar awa[/FONT][FONT="]rds, becoming Gold after only eight weeks.[/FONT]

[FONT="]

[/FONT][FONT="]In 2003 Williamson sang “Sir Don” at the memorial service for Bradman in Adelaide. In October of the same year, at the request of the Prime Minister, he sang Waltzing Matilda at the memorial service for the 2002 Bali bombings. After Steve Irwin was killed in 2006, Williamson sang his songs “Home Among the Gum Trees” and “True Blue” at the memorial service for Irwin in the Australia Zoo Crocoseum.


In 2010, John Williamson was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to an artist who has devoted his life to making music a meaningful experience for people everywhere.

[/FONT]