Wheatbelt Sounds musos set to strike right note at Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days

Dorothy HendersonCountryman
Wheatbelt Sounds coordinator Chris Gibbs.
Camera IconWheatbelt Sounds coordinator Chris Gibbs. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper

Visitors to the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days will hear some distinctive Wheatbelt sounds at the four performing nodes at the venue.

Musician and project co-ordinator Chris Gibbs, who has extensive experience in the WA music industry including dual careers as a performing musician and educator, is one member of the team helping to deliver Sounds of the Wheatbelt, featuring musos with a connection to the region.

Mr Gibbs works in partnership with Wheatbelt music identity Allen Tonkin, whose music program Tonkin’ Along with Tonks was a hit before his retirement from radio station Voice of the Avon 101.3FM.

The pair are working with the Dowerin Field Day team to carry on the legacy of the WAMI Sounds of the Wheatbelt project, which gave artists the chance to record and join the RAC Wheatbelt Touring Circuit.

Mr Gibbs said for performers who relied on playing to crowds for income, the COVID-19 pandemic had been crippling.

He said that his own situation had been eased by an increase in his work as a music educator.

With the freeing of movement in WA, events like the Dowerin Field Days provide communities with the chance to reconnect and allow musicians to play to crowds.

Wheatbelt Sounds coordinator Chris Gibbs.
Camera IconWheatbelt Sounds coordinator Chris Gibbs. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper

“The field days give musicians a chance to do what they do, play for people,” Mr Gibbs said.

He said that only musicians with a connection to the Wheatbelt had been engaged to perform.

“They are all either from the Wheatbelt or have deep connection with the area,” Mr Gibbs said.

This year, the musicians will not all perform on a central stage.

To provide some variety, they will play rostered sets on different stages.

Each musician will play for a while at one of four nodes at different sites around the ground, before moving on to another 20-minute set on a different stage.

“This way people will be exposed to the different artists at different sites, and each artist will get the chance to play several times, and also get time to enjoy the field days and mingle with people,” Mr Gibbs said.

Artists performing include Sue Munns, Ken Fuller, Barni Norton, David McSweeny, David Harrison, Savannah Solomon, Moose Nicholson and Sophie Jane, who will all be on stage on Wednesday.

Thursday’s line-up will include Lloyd Reidy, Gracie Briggs, Nick Childs, Red Saxguy, Darren Gillis, Chris Gibb, Andre Alexander and Warwick Trant.

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