Darlinghurst Pic: Contributed
Darlinghurst Pic: Contributed

New Roma music festival to bring thousands to town annually

Tens of thousands of country music fans flock to Gympie every year to rock it out at the annual music muster, but a brand new festival out west could give it a run for its money.

The inaugural Road to Roma festival was born out of a want and need for a new outback music event, especially while the Maranoa recovers from the impact of the COVID pandemic.

It all started when famed Brisbane musician Bec Lavelle, 40, who wrote the soundtracks for McLeod’s Daughters, had a chat with Roma Club Hotel Motel owner Barry Waldron at a boat show.

He said they recently completed renovations of the pub and wanted to use their massive space to put on a show for the town.

Ms Lavelle then called up 14 artists who accepted the offer in a heartbeat.

She’s organising the Road to Roma alongside her partner Matt Reynolds, and hoping that it will eventually grow to the scale of the Gympie Music Muster, which has an attendance of tens of thousands of people annually.

“We’re coming at it from the perspective that we want it to be an annual event,” Ms Lavelle said.

“Every single person on this roster, they are just so excited for playing for more than 20 people.”

And while 20 people may be the audience size these musos are used to, the Road to Roma is expected to draw in 2000 guests throughout the two days on March 6 and 7.

This event aims to give more exposure to lesser-known country singers from around Australia, including Ms Lavelle, who was also a contestant on The Voice of Germany.

Other artists include Jayne Denham, Melody Moko, Pete Denahy, Teak, and headline act Darlinghurst, among others.

Ms Lavelle said many of the artists have been winners or nominees of Tamworth’s famous Golden Guitar Awards.

But ultimately, Ms Lavelle said she’s doing it to give back to the community during this tough time, and get people on the roads into Southwest Queensland.

Bec Lavelle Pic: Contributed
Bec Lavelle Pic: Contributed

Club Hotel owner Felicity Waldron told the Western Star that this event will not only bring outsiders to the pub, but also to other businesses around the Maranoa, which will give them extra support during the pandemic.

“There really is a big move from people from the highly density areas to come and live in the regions,” Mrs Waldron said.

“You don’t actually have to travel or be in the city to enjoy it.”

She said all songs will perform four original songs each and won’t be playing any covers.

And they’ll have the Club’s carpark to play in, with a screen and AV system.

The event will be livestreamed to other parts of the pub to help them manage COVID restraints.

“These are really upcoming Australian artists and it’s a great opportunity to see them before [the festival] becomes big,” Mrs Waldron said.

Tickets are now available for the event and can be purchased here.