Review by Natasha Rachow
Big Country Festival – 7th May 2022
Berry Showground, NSW
I must be honest; this is one event I have been looking forward to for a long time. This festival has been on fans’ lips for over eighteen months. A sell-out confirmed this day would be enormous, and I was excited to be a part of it.
Berry is located around a 90-minute easy drive from Sydney. On Saturday, the tourist town came alive with Sixteen of Australian country music’s finest, and special guests from the USA landed in this small coastal town for over twelve hours of nonstop music. From the initial cords of opening act Ben Gunn‘s guitar through to the final keys of Headlining act LANCO, fans were engulfed in a music marathon the likes the state has not seen in many years.
The day kicked off at 10.30, and it ran like clockwork. The side-by-side stages ensured no delays in music being delivered to fans. Fans could also break away from the live music and dance under the rooftop to country tunes. Amber Lawrence entertained kids with her show. With so much going on, Berry was in true carnival mode. There were three rounds of bull riding, with Singleton local Cody Heffernan winning the Touring Pro Division event.
Patrons also enjoyed a plethora of food choices which added to the festival’s vibe. Add the option (if you get in early enough) of camping on-site, and the festival has everything.
There were many highlights when it came to the music, including James Johnson showing his ever-growing army of fans why he is one of the hottest artists in the country. Casey Barnes provided the crowd with a polished set, complete with a catchy tune to encourage fans to ‘buy some merch’.
Country music favourites The McClymonts gave fans a powerhouse show which is their only gig this year. Shannon Noll gave the crowd sing-along, finishing with his hit. ‘What About Me.’ The festival went up a notch when current multi golden guitar winners The Wolfe Brothers hit the stage with their set of original material. The battle of Australia’s top male talent continued with Travis Collins playing to perhaps the festival’s biggest crowd. Reaching back into his vast collection of songs, the group was singing loudly, and one young girl even scored the artist’s signed guitar. Adam Brand allowed fans to join in some country classics, including ‘The ANZAC.’ Country superstar Lee Kernaghan never fails to entertain; he was on point playing his 30 years of hits to an adoring crowd on Saturday. Wife Robby X had the group rockin with their version of the Springsteen classic ‘Fire.’
Nashville-based LANCO hit the stage to adoring fans; many had waited all day to see the first international country act to come to Australia in 2022. The band’s brand of modern country has an unmistakable Australian solid fan base. I must say, Brandon Lancaster singing ‘Greatest Love Story’ was the perfect song to round out the night.
Overall, this was a fantastic festival, and congratulations must go to the organisers for their commitment to pulling this off. Next year, this music marathon will be at the forefront of music fans, calendars. I look forward to seeing how Big Country can top this festival in 2023. Overall, a fantastic day.
Mel Dyer, Amber Lawrence, Adam Harvey Kaylee Bell, Casey Barnes, The McClymonts, Shannon Noll, Wolfe Brothers, Travis Collins, Steve Forde, Adam Brand, Lee Kernaghan, Lanco.