Big-name acts are set to descend on Albury-Wodonga, with the border towns gearing up for a fabulous few months of standout artists and performers.
Toni Childs, Marcia Hines, Ian Moss and Jon Stevens are lined up for ticketed shows at the Albury Entertainment Centre in October and November along with a Queen Tribute night, the Soweto Gospel Choir and Taikoz, the internationally renowned Japanese percussionists.
Music in the Gardens at the Albury Botanic Gardens will offer two free outdoor concerts with Sal Kimber and her band scheduled for Sunday 15 October, followed by This Way North on Sunday 19 November.
The Cube Wodonga is getting into the festive spirit and has booked A Celtic Christmas by A Taste of Ireland for 28 November.
If you want to get into the rhythm earlier than that, the Johnny Cash and June Carter tribute show is on 3 October followed by a Neil Diamond tribute show on 6 October.
Albury Entertainment Centre venue manager Brendan Maher said locals had come to expect high quality acts touring through Albury-Wodonga and the region which was considered a “cultural hub” in Australia.
“We really are spoilt for choice,” he said.
“Given that we’ve got two cities which incorporate the entertainment centre in Albury, The Cube in Wodonga, The Flying Fruit Fly circus school, the Murray Conservatorium and five active community theatre groups it’s no wonder we’ve often been referred to as a performing arts hub.”
He said staging a successful program developed through a combination of councils approaching and attracting some performers as well as being on the regional or national touring route of other artists.
“We are very fortunate in Albury as we have one of the largest regional theatres.
“When you think about when they built the theatre 58 years ago, the ambition for it was pretty incredible – to have 818 seats built back then was quite visionary.
“A lot of regional theatres sit at around 450 – 600 seating capacity.
“We are also very accessible and getting artists in and out is made easier as Albury and Wodonga sit on the main corridor between Melbourne and Sydney and we have the airport so artists can fly in and out.”
What showgoers might not realise is that Maher works closely with industry counterparts to avoid clashes and similar products.
“We work with the Hot House Theatre, The Cube and other entertainment providers when we are doing our programming to make sure it’s a well balanced offering over 12 months.
“We also accept each other’s memberships so that patrons across the border both ways get access to the lower ticket price.”
Coming up on Friday 6 October is Toni Childs who will celebrate her musical works in a two- hour performance.
You can expect to hear favourites such as Union, House of Hope, The Woman’s Boat and Keep the Faith in the first hour, and an introduction to Toni’s new music in the second.
Maher is particularly excited about the Marcia Hines concert on Saturday 11 November.
“Marcia Hines hasn’t performed regionally for a long time and I’m not sure she’s ever been on stage in Albury so this concert is going to be sensational,” he said.
Hines’ career spans five decades – and 22 albums (selling 2.6 million copies) – so this event should see intergenerational fans flocking to hear favourites such as Fire and Rain from the queen of pop.
Ian Moss will perform on Friday 3 November followed by Jon Stevens on Friday 17 November.
“Jon Stevens is an incredible artist on the scene of rock and roll, he’s been here before and is back by popular demand.
“Ian Moss has also been here before several times and he has a great following too,” said Brendan.
If you prefer your music in an outdoor setting, Music in the Gardens is a wonderful way to toe-tap the day away, says Aaron Bykerk from Albury City’s events team.
“These events really appeal to a slightly older demographic who can enjoy the day with their favourite bottle of wine which they can bring along,” he said.
“The botanic gardens are a great setting and there is always plenty of room on our concert days. Everyone seems to love an outdoor concert and the gardens are such a scenic setting to sit back and enjoy some entertainment.”
Music in the Gardens has been going since 2014 and there’s hope that the future will bring bigger and better names to the program.