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Inaugural Whitsundays Songwriter Festival & Residency

By Ray White Whitsunday

The inaugural Whitsundays Songwriter Festival and Residency will take place from 22 September to 26 September at Topaz House at Yangaro Resort in Funnel Bay as part of the Whitsundays Arts Festival.

The Festival and Residency is comprised of a professional Songwriter Residential Retreat from 22-26 September; a one-day workshop event for emerging songwriters, 24 September; and an evening performance open to the public at The Belvedere at Toscana on 25 September, offering an evening of fine dining, conversation, and live music.

Six professional songwriters of diverse music genres, with a proven track record of released recordings and performances nationally and internationally, have been invited to attend the inaugural Whitsundays Songwriters Festival and Residency. They are Graeme Connors, country music legend and the most successful songwriter to hail from the region with twenty albums and 14 Golden Guitar awards, and certified Platinum artist Tia Gostelow, a Queensland Music Award winner. Other outstanding artists include Francesca de Valence, Karen Jacobsen, Bryce Sainty, and LT (Leanne Tennant).

Director of the Festival, Jessica Begun said of the Residency: “To be able to bring songwriters of this calibre and professional experience to this event is a ground-breaking opportunity for creatives and songwriters locally. Close access to learn, be inspired, and develop their own craft from such award-winning songwriters is uncommon even in major centres.”

Over three days, these writers will participate in a professional level Song Writing Retreat, connecting with the potential for co-writing and masterminding. They will also appear in an intimate performance, the Concert & Conversation Dinner, as part of the Whitsundays Arts Festival at The Belvedere at Toscana on Sunday 25 September. This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from our professional songwriter faculty about their creative process.

There will be a full day Emerging Songwriter Workshop on Saturday 24 September at Yangaro Resort, accessed through application on the Whitsundays Arts Festival website. Emerging songwriters will experience a full day with professional songwriters from creation to development to performance.

Led by the founder of the revolutionary online song writing club I Heart Songwriting Club, Francesca de Valence, this inspiring session offers practical tools for overcoming songwriters’ biggest blocks and barriers once and for all, and rare mentoring access to our professional faculty.

Francesca de Valence says: “I created I Heart Songwriting Club and have run workshops from Dublin to Rio De Janeiro, because as a young songwriter I was unable to find a song writing community where mentorship was highly valued.”

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer, Rick Hamilton, said that the local live music scene will be buzzing in the months following the Emerging Songwriter Workshop as our local artists apply their new knowledge.

“The inaugural Whitsundays Songwriter Festival and Residency adds yet another event to our already diverse Whitsundays Arts Festival. The Emerging Songwriter Workshop is a fantastic opportunity for local musicians to learn from Aussie household names.”

For further information and to purchase tickets to The Belvedere at Toscana night of fine dining, conversation, and music, and to apply for the Emerging Songwriter Workshop, visit the Whitsundays Arts Festival website.

The 2022 Whitsundays Songwriter Festival and Residency was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, provided through Regional Arts Australia, administered in Queensland by Flying Arts Alliance, and the Mackay Regional Arts Development Fund. The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Mackay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

The Whitsundays Songwriter Festival and Residency is presented in partnership with I Heart Songwriting Club, Cruise Whitsundays, and Yangaro Resort.

This media release is in partnership with the Whitsunday Arts Festival.

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