Mackay’s Brad Butcher to play at Country on Keppel
LONGING to play country music, former Mackay musician Brad Butcher took the first opportunity that came.
Country on Keppel is held at Great Keppel Island and focuses on contemporary Australian country music.
The event brings notable and upcoming musicians to regional audiences and takes place November 14 to 15.
"Keppel Island is a very special place and I got a lot of good friends over there and when you mix some country music in, there's no better combination for me," Butcher said.
Unable to play live music at gigs during COVID-19, he said he took a job mowing lawns with The Real Group in Yeppoon and tried to share his craft online.
"In the past seven or eight months, I literally played three gigs," he said.
"So, that's not going to pay the bills and with a young family now, people are relying on me and I need to pull my socks up and make things happen," Butcher said.
"I had to go back to work. Luckily, I was able to find some work. Lots of my friends weren't able to do that.
"I've been pretty fortunate this year, amongst it all."
Butcher said COVID-19 had changed how he could play his music, with people such as booking agents no longer existing, and he had to chang or adapt to survive in the industry this year.
"I pretty much got to start from scratch and start to book my own tours and there is going to be a lot of extra work and sleepless nights to make it happen," he said.
"But it's different; this year has really made me understand what I really want to do with my life, and I guess it is also time away makes the heart grow fonder.
"So, not being able to do it just has given me itchy feet, that's for sure."
Butcher said playing at Country on Keppel was about "getting the wheels in motion again" on the music circuit, and he had a few festivals and gigs coming up.
It's off the back of Butcher playing a sold-out show in Brisbane earlier this month.
"(It's) pretty special to be able to get back to that," he said.
"It's all ahead of us now, hopefully."
Country on Keppel event organiser Peter Blundell said the event was unique due to being one of few music events on an island in Australia.
"There aren't a lot of other country festivals on an island and the relaxed atmosphere of the festival means fans will have access to the artists," Mr Blundell said.
"It's a very family-oriented festival and fans can enjoy the music while being barefoot on the sand or listen to the music and then go for a swim in the ocean."
Butcher said that he was writing new songs and preparing a new album to be recorded in a studio.
"Hopefully 2021, I'll be on the road, pushing new music and promoting that," Butcher said.
Held on the weekend of November 13-15 at Great Keppel Island Hideaway, the best in country music will drift across the Capricorn Coast, starting with the Green Brothers Country on Keppel Talent Search on the Friday night.
The event is free of charge for children aged 17 and under with paying adults.
Tickets for the event cost $64.39 and are available at Eventbrite.