Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top 3 of Tamworth '15

I sat, I watched, I tapped my toes, I sang along when I knew the words (and, let's be honest, even when I didn't). As I did these things, I judged. I wasn't even aware I was doing it but I guess it was always there in the back of mind. 
"Do I enjoy this style of music? Are they singing in tune? Do their original lyrics speak to me? Are they original? Is this cover better than the original? Is there a reason I'm hearing Folsom Prison Blues for the millionth time today?"

As I judged the different voices, skills and styles I came to develop a better sense of what I enjoy in country music and what it takes for a performer to impress me. So, why am I telling you all this? I want you to understand how I picked my Top 3 from the 2015 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
I wanted to highlight artists that have incredible songwriting skills, can confidently play at least one instrument and have that indefinable quality or charisma that allows you to happily sit and watch them for hours on end.
Yep, okay, enough rambling from me. 
Top 3 from TCMF 2015

Fanny Lumsden
She's the whole reason we even went to Tamworth in the first place. Fanny did NOT disappoint. I've written about her and the Thrillseekers before HERE and basically I've played her EP on repeat ever since I got it and am eagerly awaiting her debut album release this year!

Tia & Jack
The find of the Festival! We looked these guys up online after seeing them in the guide book and knew straight away we HAD to see them live. We saw them first at Fan Zone and were instantly blown away. I just love their sound! When Tia mentioned that the song she was about to sing was about a farm once owned by her Mum's family in Bombala (a little town really close to my own hometown) I knew we were onto a winner. That song, Lord's Hill, has been stuck in my head ever since (check it out in the video below). I can't wait to see what's to come from these two... I'll definitely be keeping up to date and keeping an ear out on Triple J where they have just started to be played.

Missy Lancaster
We saw Missy at Shoppingworld and thought her covers sounded great. Then, she explained the story behind her latest single and I thought "wow, this sounds like my sister's life exactly". I was excited to hear the song before it even started but once it did I knew straight away that I had to pre-order 'Til I Figure It Out'. Missy was just all around amazing, I'd love to see her perform again and can't wait til her new EP is released.

Honorable Mention

I had to mention just one more act (though there were plenty more I truly enjoyed). Dozzi sang two of my favourite songs that totally encapsulate my America experience so they earned instant brownie points for covering Cruise and Chicken Fried (check out their Dozzi-fried version below).
These girls are funny, entertaining and ofcourse, SUPER MUSICALLY TALENTED!

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tips for Tamworth Country Music First-Timers.

Wow. How do I even begin to explain the experience that was my first ever Tamworth Country Music Festival!? I absolutely loved every single, music-drenched, second!

Sidewalk Chalk Art.

My first tip for anyone considering the trip is JUST DO IT!
You don't have to be the biggest country music fan ever, or a farmer from way out west. You don't have to know every Adam Brand lyric or even know who the hell he is! There is something in Tamworth for everyone! 

Which brings us to my second tip... Embrace the change in Australian Country Music.
Country Music is growing and evolving with the next generation. It's not all Slim Dusty and songs about the farm anymore (not that there is anything wrong with this branch of country either). There is a whole wave of new talent and it's time we all accepted that there is a place for everyone in Country Music.

Free hat, Free lanyard, Awesome photo op!

Onto the trip planning tips. Let's start with accommodation.
TCMF (Tamworth Country Music Festival) can be a daunting trip to make the first time round as many camp grounds do not take bookings. I, for one, was terrified at the thought of rocking into town and not being able to find anywhere to put the tent up. Instead, I did my research and opted to stay a little further out of town in order to secure a booked camping site. We ended up at Austin Tourist Park and it was perfect.

Our Campsite Setup.

"So, how do I get around Tamworth?"
Sooooo easily! The bus service for the event was super useful. We paid $20 for a wristband that allowed us unlimited bus rides for the duration of the festival. The buses came every hour to our tourist park and were able to quickly and easily take us to every venue we needed to visit.

More Sidewalk Chalk Art.

One of the biggest concerns going in for me was making sure I got to see all my favourites.
An essential purchase is the yearly guide as it provides the perfect starting point to workout the times people are playing and to start exploring some new (to you) acts. I went through and picked out atleast one time for each act I was desperate to see, making sure they didn't clash. Once that was sorted I was free to fill my time with buskers and seeing more of acts i'd discovered at the festival.

Addimi Acoustic Sessions.

You can easily fill your time at TCMF without purchasing a single ticket! 
There is sooooo much going on down Peel St. I could spend a whole week just watching the buskers. If there is something you really want to see, by all means buy a ticket, but don't get fooled by the website suggesting that you will need tickets.

Goldheist busking.

Lastly, HAVE FUN!
Sing, dance, tap your feet, take silly photos, meet and greet with acts you enjoy, line up for a free cowboy hat, make the most of your wholeeeeeeeee time there!

Golden Guitar.

Still not sure whether to go?
Check out this video I put together of #tcmf2015

Keep your eyes peeled for my Top 5 of Tamworth '15 post coming soon!

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

#52friends Ways to Connect

Last week I wrote about my new challenge for the year, #52friends. A whole year of connecting, reconnecting and maintaining one friendship a week for 52 weeks. Since the last post went live I have put together a list of friends/extended family members that I want to include and set about getting started with the 'friending'. 
The first friend up was my high school bestie who I try to catch up with whenever I am back in my hometown. We headed out for coffee and took her kids to look around the petting zoo there. While I was sitting waiting for her to arrive I thought about how often my default catch up plan is to just grab coffee and as great as that is, I decided to put together this list providing a whole range of activities to help you connect with friends.

- Grab a coffee together
- Send a handwritten letter
- Send a gift
- Go for a walk and talk
- Pizza and a movie night at home
- Friday after work drinks
- Send a card for birthday
- Send a card of congratulations
- Send a card for Christmas
- Weekend getaway/road trip
- Cook them a meal
- Brunch date
- Hit the gym together
- Go SUPing together
- Go rockclimbing together
- Go to a cooking class together
- Go to a wine and paint night together
- Bake them a treat
- Play a game of tennis with them
- Have a spa day 
- Make a collage of photos of the two of you
- Give them your favourite book to read and discuss after
- Go to the movies together
- Go to a happy hour to drink and chat
- See a band play
- Join a team sport together
- Send a surprise care package
- Go shopping
- Get drunk and dance on tables together
- Go camping
- Have a "junk" stall at a market
- Attempt a craft project together
- Go ice-skating
- Do a swap of some sort (eg. cookies, clothes, shoes etc.)
- Go grocery shopping together (make a boring task way more enjoyable!)
- Have a cocktail inventing night
- Go play mini-golf
- Take a dance class
- Share a bottle of wine (or two)
- Play a garden game (like Finska
- Play the wii or similiar together (try Just Dance for a good laugh)
- Go out for dinner
- Go to a high tea (or host one at home)
- Go to a puppy park (if one of you have a dog!)
- Tie Dye something together
- Play laser tag
- Go to an amusement/water park
- Go to a fortune teller
- Go out for Ice-cream
- Send a postcard
- Create a playlist for your friend
- Call them and have a chat (especially if you usually text or communicate through social media).

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Friday, January 9, 2015


Tonight I was laying in front of the TV, lazily scanning through the latest on Instagram as I tend to at the end of most days. A series of photos came through from a friend I hadn't seen or spoken to in over a year despite living in the same city. I quickly sent off a "we should catch up" comment and cringed at my lazy friend behaviour. Continuing to scroll I soon came across the following post by the wonderful, Sunrise weather woman Edwina Bartholomew.

I love this idea! Actively setting the intention to put time and effort into 52 different friendships over the year. While I'm sure some would argue that you shouldn't need a challenge like this to put time into your friendships I feel that anything that encourages to reach out to people who you may have drifted away from or rarely get to see is a positive thing.

I for one am jumping straight aboard the #52friends train. 

I want to make time to connect with people I met overseas. To make sure old friends are not forgetten. To send snail mail and recognise birthdays and significant events that might otherwise go unacknowledged. To avoid relying on facebook to update me on people's lives. To just make a damn effort!

While, Eddy is planning to document her #52friends on instagram by having each friend answer the same set of questions. I plan to just record catch-ups and reminders in my diary each week to stay up to date. I will most probably also post updates here, ofcourse, as this is obviously my favourite place to record my life.

Feel free to join in too and share your #52friends adventures with me here or over on instagram!

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

How to Celebrate a Birthday (when you don't want a party)!

 2015 is the year that I turn 25 years old. I will have spent a whole quarter century here on Earth and I
plan to celebrate!

But, HOW do I celebrate?
I don't want a 'birthday party' in the traditional sense. Nor do I want to just go out and drink the night 
away (I'd like to think I'm more mature than that now... (maybe). 
I've always (excluding my 21st, of course) done something a little different and more, well, fun 
to acknowledge the passing of another year.

So, I decided to compile a list of...

- Try an experience meant for children, such as a game zone (like I did, here).

- Go to a wine and paint night with a couple of girlfriends.

- Host a 'slumber party'. Throw some cushions in front of the TV and enjoy trashy movies and trashy 
food with close friends.
- Go to the cinema. Perfect for a weeknight celebration.

- Pot Luck Dinner. Have each of your friends bring a dish for dinner. Great for those on a budget.

- Have a board game night with family and friends.

- Karaoke (a winner for all occasions in my opinion).

- Got the day free? How about a picnic.

- Take a road trip with friends.

- Do something (ANYTHING!) that makes the day feel special and that YOU enjoy!

What's your favourite way to celebrate getting another year older?

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