TOP ACT: The Hillbilly Goats are all set to regale regatta crowds.
TOP ACT: The Hillbilly Goats are all set to regale regatta crowds. Andrew Pattinson/Vampp Photograp

On-shore line-up set to impress

THIS month's Airlie Beach Race Week isn't just for sailors ... it's for boat buffs, land lovers, music maniacs and friends and families out to have some fun.

Music co-ordinator for the week, Gavin "Butto” Butlin, said as well as the boat races, the festival of sailing would include seven nights of free entertainment, with bands from around the country as well as a few treasured local acts.

Mr Butlin said the whole community was able to enjoy race week, which featured plenty of on-shore entertainment as well as the action on the ocean.

"All the locals come down and the music is right in the heart of Airlie Beach, so it's central for everybody,” he said.

"We've got a bit of rock'n'roll, country, and bluegrass. It's always good for a get-together. And the sailors have been out on the boats all day, so they're also keen to get back and relax.”

Mr Butlin said each night's entertainment would begin after the daily prize presentations at 6pm.

On the final night of the week of sailing and socialising, north Queensland favourites the Hillbilly Goats will take to the stage. Mahney Wearne, one half of the Hillbilly Goats with husband Bryce (also known as goat boy and goat girl), said she was looking forward to being back with the "great crowd” at Airlie Beach.

Ms Wearne said their three-piece act, which included a fiddle player, was famed for its high-energy, feel-good music that appealed to all ages, and had a definite bluegrass tone.

"When we started, we decided we weren't going to play any sad music. We thought, generally people go to the pub to drown their sorrows, and we don't want to add to that, we want to change that,” she said.

Ms Wearne said the band - with a passion for mountain music, its instruments and harmonies - began playing in pubs, and then seven years ago started playing around the festival circuit.

"We introduce every song with some history about the song and the immigrants who created the music,” she said. "We tell a lot of general stories about the evolution of blues and the banjo, which is a really big influence.”


  • THURSDAY: Matt Angell
  • FRIDAY: Off the Railz
  • SATURDAY: Lloyd Saunders Band
  • SUNDAY: The Cadillacs
  • MONDAY: Jan Arns
  • TUESDAY: Lloyd Saunders
  • WEDNESDAY: Gypsy Soldiers
  • THURSDAY: Hillbilly Goats