Showcase of Wheatbelt talent

Rebecca TurnerThe West Australian

This year's Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field days will see an even bigger line up of Wheatbelt musicians showcasing their talent from within the GWN7 tent and around the grounds.

West Australian Music Industry Association regional officer Nigel Bird said this year's line up built on last year's inaugural showcase and was working towards an even bigger show of talent next year at the 50th Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.

Official program and field day guide in the COUNTRYMAN newspaper, August 22, 2013

Eight artists will be performing at the field days this year, including Georgie Sadler from Wongan Hills, Mitchell Freind from Dowerin, Hayden Sprigg from Mukinbudin and Jayden Crook and Ryan Flannigan from Merredin.

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The musicians will be playing their own original material which includes a blend of folk, roots, pop and country styles, all played acoustically.

"Last year was the first showcase of Wheatbelt songwriters at the field days, this included Georgie Sadler, Gauge Harder and Polly Medlen, " Mr Bird said. "This year we are having eight artists showcasing their music over both days."

He said in addition to set performance times in the GWN7 tent, musicians would be sharing their music with the public at six different sites around the field days in 20-minute 'bites'.

"WAM and Dowerin Events Management are providing these performance opportunities for songwriters to help promote better awareness of the quality musicians in the Wheatbelt, " Mr Bird said.

In conjunction with the Wheatbelt Development Commission and DEM, WAM is currently undertaking a two-year project to lift the profile of Wheatbelt musicians.

The project aims to travel the Wheatbelt helping to further develop skills in home audio recording for musicians in the region.

A three-week mentoring program offers audio engineering and song producing skills for participants through a practical recording process.

A compilation CD is produced of the recordings, which WAM promotes through its music industry and radio networks.

"WA musicians in regional areas all face similar problems when it comes to recording their music as there are a very limited number of local professional recording studios available, across WA, " he added. "What this project aims to do is provide an engine to work with people and develop their skills when it comes to recording their music."

He said a similar project was undertaken in the Wiluna district in 2011 with great success.

"There were 180 downloads of the CD alone by community radio stations around Australia picking up songs off the album to play, " he said. "Stations such as Radio National and the ABC picked up the album and provided massive coverage, lifting the profile of the musicians involved."

Musicians involved in the Wheatbelt music project would benefit from a similar media campaign run by WAM.

"The CD will be launched at the 2014 Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days and then WAM will undertake a media campaign promoting the music to radio stations across the nation."

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