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Savannah in the Round finally gets off the ground


Stories of resilience in the music industry aren’t few and far between, but through sheer determination and two years of ups, downs, and complete lineup overhauls, country music festival Savannah in the Round is ready to liven up Far North Queensland.

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The festival has experienced everything the pandemic has had to throw at it from postponements, cancellations, and multiple lineup changes.

Now, it is expected to go ahead over the October long weekend with new additions to the stellar lineup including heavy hitters John Butler, Sheppard, San Cisco, Ian Moss, and Sneaky Sound System.

They join acts such as John Williamson, Lee Kernaghan, Busby Marou, Troy Cassar-Daley, Hussy Hicks and more.

The additions arrive as the initial lineup has been affected by the lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne, having had difficulties getting the festival off the starting mark since its planned inauguration in December 2019.

The Festival was put permanently on hold in June 2020 before putting on some smaller-scaled events as Queensland was placed in and out of lockdowns throughout 2020 but two weeks out, they march on undeterred.

Festival Director James Dein said that while he was gutted to lose acts including Lime Cordiale, Tex Perkins, Shannon Noll, The McClymonts, and Fanny Lumsden who are now unable to travel due to various southern COVID hotspots, he and the Sound Australia team have worked tirelessly and made bold choices to revamp and broaden the program, ensuring the show will go on.

Savannah in the Round will be held over the Queen’s birthday long weekend in Mareeba’s Rodeo Grounds (Image: Supplied)

“Thankfully we live in a country that’s rich with musical talent from end to end,” he said.

“Something we would never do is compromise the quality of the event we’re delivering for the Tropical North, so rest assured the 20 plus new artists we’re welcoming to the event today will make for an incredible celebration of music – something we all need now more than ever.”

The event will be held across three stages, with the main stage held in Mareeba’s Rodeo Grounds, as well as hosting an Indigenous cultural program, community entertainment, local produce and goods, and paddock to plate.

“As we unite and recover from COVID-19, major events like Savannah in the Round are an opportunity to celebrate our resilience, while showcasing homegrown artists and contributing to regional economies,” Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said.

“I hope visitors extend their stay beyond the long weekend, supporting local tourism operators, while exploring the many natural splendours of the Tropical North.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said Savannah in the Round would give country music fans a compelling reason to experience great Australian music in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef region.

“A dose of great Aussie music combined with a week or more exploring the accessible outback, the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest will help beat the pandemic blues,” he said.

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