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Newcastle to roll out welcome mat for inaugural country music festival


The Hunter is set to roll out the welcome mat to a host of celebrated musicians when the inaugural Boardwalk Country Music Festival heads to town.

The newly-created event will see the likes of Lee Kernaghan, Jimmie Allen, Gavin DeGraw, Kasey Chambers and The Buckleys strut their stuff at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Tuesday 18 April.

General public tickets, through, go on sale from 9am on Valentine’s Day (14 February).

The first-ever Boardwalk Country Music Festival is poised to become an annual extravaganza on the Australian calendar. 

While Kernaghan, Allen, DeGraw, Chambers and The Buckleys are Newcastle bound, other artists taking the stage throughout the nation include Busby Marou, Shannon Noll, The Wolfe Brothers, Casey Barnes and Darlinghurst.

“Boardwalk Country Music Festival promises to deliver a cracking day out in a relaxed, fun-filled environment,” a spokesperson for One World Entertainment said.

“It’s the perfect event to kick back and witness some of country music’s finest artists. 

“The locations will be topped up with food trucks and pop-up boutique bars to create the ultimate festival experience.   

“And, if you love country music, Boardwalk will be the place to be.”

Lee Kernaghan

Kernaghan is Australia’s most loved country music identity and an outback icon. 

He is credited with reinvigorating the genre by synthesising traditional themes with his own brand of rural rock and images of an evolving regional culture.

Songs like The Outback Club, Boys From The Bush, Hat Town, She’s My Ute, Outback Club, Backroad Nation and Australian Boy are now modern day anthems for a generation of Australians living and working on the land.

Kernaghan has achieved a staggering 40 No. 1 chart hit songs over his career and has been awarded 38 Golden Guitars.

His live concerts are a high-powered, electric celebration of all things Australian delivered through Lee’s songs and amplified through his larger-than-life on-stage presence and the undeniable connection he has with every audience he plays to.

Jimmie Allen

Allen exploded onto the country music scene with his 2018 debut album Mercury Lane, featuring two singles – Best Shot and Make Me Want To – which went on to become No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. 

In 2021, he released the critically-acclaimed album Bettie James Gold Edition, was nominated for Best New Artist at the 64th Grammy Awards and took home the New Artist of the Year award at the CMA Awards as well as New Male Artist of the Year at the ACM Awards.

His most recent album, Tulip Drive, was released in June 2022 and features the hit single Down Home, which reached the top of the Country Radio chart in Australia last September, marking Allen’s fourth overall career No. 1 single.

He has also enthusiastically ventured into the world of hosting, having co-hosted the 57th ACM Awards alongside Dolly Parton and Gabby Barrett and New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash in 2022 with Elle King and Rachel Smith. 

Much like his approach to music, Allen’s other creative pursuits know no boundaries.  

His debut picture book, My Voice Is a Trumpet – a powerful story about speaking up for what you believe in, at any age – was published in July 2021 with Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. 

He is currently on Carrie Underwood’s The Denim & Rhinestones Tour as a special guest.

Gavin DeGraw

DeGraw’s inimitable voice and soulful style boldly bloomed on his 2003 platinum-certified full-length debut, Chariot.

It included the gold single Follow Through, as well as both platinum hits, Chariot and I Don’t Want To Be.  

In 2008, his self-titled second album, Gavin, bowed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Top 200 powered by the platinum-selling single In Love With a Girl

2011’s gold-certified Sweeter saw him return to the Top 10 as the hit Not Over You went four times platinum.

Meanwhile, his 2013 duet with Colbie Caillat, We Both Know, garnered a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Song Written For Visual Media for Safe Haven.

He’s the rare talent who could seamlessly share the stage with Billy Joel and The Allman Brothers or Maroon 5 and Shania Twain. 

In 2016, Something Worth Saving incited widespread critical applause from USA Today, Billboard, Entertainment Tonight, and Huffington Post.

With a front row seat to this wonderfully wild life led by his late parents Lynne and John Wayne, DeGraw recounts his most meaningful memories and valuable lessons on his seventh full-length offering, Face The River.

Now, he stitches together a timeless tale of his own sound tracked by a signature fusion of pop, soul, country, folk and funk.

Kasey Chambers

Music seems to be a part of Chambers’ DNA, with 12 award-winning albums under her belt since the release of The Captain in 1999.

Her brilliant songwriting and world-class performance have earned her a rightful position on the global country artist stage.

Often described as a genre-defying singer and songwriter, she wears the honesty of country music on her sleeve and has become one of the most popular and acclaimed artists of her generation in Australia, while winning a devoted cult following in the rest of the world.

In 2018, Chambers’ exceptional career was honoured by being the youngest female ever to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and the youngest inductee to the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown.

She, and her band, will play all of her much-loved songs from The Captain and Barricades & Brickwalls all the way through her career to now, in a festival performance not to be missed.

The Buckleys

Dubbed “Hippie Country” for their feel-good music that doesn’t fit squarely into any one box, The Buckleys (out of Byron Bay) have been singled out by American Songwriter as “…something so cool and authentic that the world has no choice but to sit up and take notice.”   

Discovered, signed and managed by the legendary late C.M Murphy, the man behind INXS, this group is creating international attention and are destined to reach the heights that Murphy foresaw and predicted The Buckley’s future to be.  The Buckley’s are Sarah (22), her brother Lachlan (21) and their sister Molly (19).

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