A "Peoples Choice Awards' At Tasmania's Newest Music Venue
The grand final on Thursday night October 20 revealed some great talent in closely fought heats
Quietly nestled in the splendor of the rolling hills of Tasmania is the town of Latrobe. Described as its heartland, a must see municipality and probably Tasmania's best kept secret, the town is just ten minutes from Devonport Airport and where too, the Spirit of Tasmania docks as you cross Bass Strait from Australia's mainland.
As most Aussie's know the Apple Isle is a place of many delights and the north west coast is no exception. Known for its superb walking tracks and the pristine Warrawee Reserve hiding the elusive platypus, the historic town lies close to the serene and picturesque seaside resort of Port Sorell where those who wish to relax can walk along beaches or take some time to visit the penguins.
Latrobe's heart is best described by its local council as renowned for its fine dining experiences, numerous quality antique shops, quaint cafes, majestic old buildings, the Courthouse Museum, fabulous Bells Parade, tempting Anvers Chocolates, the Teddy Sheean Memorial, and the unique Axeman's Hall of Fame.
And it's here at the Axemans' one of Australia's newest music venues the Silverado Lounge that country music is pumping from its walls and locals are loving every moment.
For several months now event organisers have been planning a series of six heats running over twelve weeks with some 36 entrants, judged by fans and billed as Tasmanian's Peoples Choice Awards.
The grand final on Thursday night October 20 revealed some great talent in closely fought heats. 400 fans came to eat drink and enjoy country music, and there was no disappointment with a great night of entertainment. With an in-house band the Stafford City Jam Band on stage and host local singer Gina Timms fans got a taste of Texas. Among them, visitors to Tasmania all the way from St Louis Massachusetts USA dropping in and giving it a "big" thumbs up.
The grand final got underway with Leah Briggs from Launceston, Amy Pegg 15 years old - what a future from Wynyard, Dennis Quillerat from Launceston, Steve Hill from Launceston, Justin Borg from central Queensland and Rachel Nation also from Launceston competing for the inaugural prize. Ex Tasmanian Justin Borg flew down from Queensland for the final who organisers say is a real live cowboy. He flies a helicopter for his own mustering company up north."
Each contestant sang two songs backed by the Stafford City Jam Band with fans voting for their pick of the night. After a very tight and close final Launceston's Ms Rachel Nation walked away with a beautiful trophy sponsored by Lockwox TAS a local Devonport company.
The award was presented by Australian and International Country Music Artist Ms. Jean Stafford and the Mayor of Latrobe Mr. Mike Gaffney MLC.
"The Mayor Mike Gaffney is a great supporter of the Silverado Lounge and country music and the area is very lucky to have his support and foresight" event planners said.
"It was a treat too, to have Jean Stafford present as it was Jean who named the "Silverado Lounge" as a tribute to the people of Texas after she won the Academy of Western Music award - the Western Swing Female Vocalist of the Year in Texas USA, the first Australian to win this prestigious award."
"What a pleasure too for many of the locals in the audience to have Jean Stafford appear live on stage. Her birthplace is only minutes away from Latrobe and for many this is the first glimpse after a long time to what the rest of the Australia has witnessed over many years."
Jean indulged the large audience delivering two songs very close to her heart – the world wide award winning song Steelin' the 2 Step, a hit for the much loved artist in Europe, US and Canada, and a sneak listen to a brand new track from her forthcoming album.
"It was a fun night with many door prizes donated by local business who keenly support this new venture at the Silverado Lounge, and who too have helped to make this brand new venue the great success it is."
Organisers were keen to announce future planning stages of the Silverado Lounge - an increased seating capacity management has worked on to take it to 800 making it the biggest country music venue in Tasmania; round two through popular demand of the Peoples Choice Awards underway in mid November, and a cowboy night on Fridays where western swing and Texas dance hall music will be superbly delivered by a new house band the Butt Sliders, where line dancers can take the floor and fans can enjoy the once a month mainland guest act. There's even a mechanical bull for fans to try their luck.
"With the start of the tourist season, this is an asset to visitors as well as the local fans" management said.