ST GEORGE will be the first stop for the new Queensland Music Trails initiative, bringing a stellar lineup of performers to rural and regional audiences from April this year.

Queensland Music Festival (QMF) will deliver the new events in partnership with the state government as part of a $20 million plan announced last year to highlight a wide range of tourism destinations while boosting Queensland’s performing arts sector.

The first three trails will be in Outback Queensland, the Western Downs and the Scenic Rim, with lineups for the Reef, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, the Tropics and Gold Coast to be finalised later this year.

This year’s Outback Trail will start in St George. IMAGE: Katrina Lehmann

QMF described the trails as a “musical Route 66 of Queensland”, adding that the first-of-its-kind music tourism experience was designed to entice visitors to discover Queensland’s natural beauty through exciting events in unexpected locations.

“Queensland is a vast, spectacular and diverse place,” QMF CEO Joel Edmondson said.

“Queensland Music Trails events will create powerful engagement with the community, culture, heritage and natural appeal of our places, so that the world can experience the beautiful truth of what Queensland is, has been, and will become.”

Arts Minister Leeanne Enoch said Queensland Music Trails would create employment opportunities for musicians and arts workers while engaging audiences and enhancing cultural vibrancy in communities.

“The Music Trails align with the priorities of Creative Together, our ten-year roadmap to transform the state through creativity, and to provide rich cultural experiences for audiences,” Enoch said.

Indi band Hussy Hicks and musicians Karl S Williams and Jem Cassar-Daley will launch the Outback Trail on April 13 with performances in St George, followed by the Outback River Lights Festival in Cunnamulla with Emma Donavan and the Putbacks and Alice Skye.

Then it’s on to Charleville, where C.W. Stoneking and His Primitive Horn Orchestra will raise the roof at The Big Base Party at the WWII Secret Base, ahead of The Sundowner with Harry James Angus and Barleyshakes Duo in Tambo.

Queensland Music Trails will return to country Queensland with new events this April. IMAGE: Katrina Lehmann

There’ll be gourmet picnics aplenty during the Scenic Rim Trail and its signature event, The Long Sunset, featuring Lime Cordiale, Sycco and Tia Gostelow.

The Western Downs hosts the Southern Trail from May 5-7, which will include the much-loved Opera at Jimbour, featuring Opera Queensland, Ensemble Q and the Griffith University Conservatorium of Music Orchestra.

“Music Trails are part of our Towards Tourism 2032 roadmap for building new experiences to help visitors discover more of regional Queensland,” Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.

“A three-show Outback trial in 2021 supported 33 jobs and added $8.4 million to the visitor economy, so the potential to bring music to the ears of tourism operators is enormous.

“We know a strong pipeline of sporting and cultural events is absolutely important to maximise the opportunities on Queensland’s runway to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

To check out the full lineup and to book tickets, head to the Queensland Music Trails website.

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