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

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.


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