COUNTRY BOY: Brad Cox, follows in the footsteps of big names like Lee Kernaghan and James Blundell as Tamworth Country Music Festival Star Maker, and hopes to win new fans at the Central Coast Country Music Festival.
COUNTRY BOY: Brad Cox, follows in the footsteps of big names like Lee Kernaghan and James Blundell as Tamworth Country Music Festival Star Maker, and hopes to win new fans at the Central Coast Country Music Festival.

Star Maker hopes to leave Coast festival with new fans

ULTIMATELY he hopes to take on America, but for now, this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival Star Maker winner, Brad Cox, is happy to be taking the main stage on Sunday, August 12 for the Central Coast Country Music Festival at the Entrance.

"Festivals are always a great opportunity because a lot of fans come for one or two big names and end up leaving as your fans too ... and it's just a whole lot of fun," Brad laughed.

And for his band, it's a home gig, with members hailing from Berowra to Newcastle, so he promises "a lot of high-energy".

A new movement of contemporary country music performers are headlining this year's festival alongside Brad, including Adam Eckersley, Homegrown, Peter Denahy, Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift.

Brad's been touring with Adam and wife Brooke McClymont and said it was great to be able to get advice from someone like Adam who had been where he is now.

Of course, as a Star Maker winner, Brad follows in the footsteps of a lot of Australia's biggest names, including Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell, Keith Urban, Gina Jeffreys and Beccy Cole.

"It feels like I've been grinding away for about 10 years," the 23-year-old laughed when asked about all that had gone into becoming "an overnight success".

The boy from Jindabyne first picked up a guitar at about 12 and has been playing cover gigs for years, but is excited to now be presenting his own music to audiences of all ages.

"The win certainly gives me traction," he said.

A fan of "new age contemporary country", that keeps the traditional sounds but pushes the boundaries, Brad said he was influenced by US stars like Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers.

He said it was the storytelling and "realness" of country music that drew him to it, and he should be getting a lot of good material, because in the next month he will play everywhere from the Gold Coast to Melbourne, Wollongong to Canberra, the Central Coast to Gympie and Brisbane.

The main Central Coast Country Music Festival concert event on Sunday, August 12, from 10am-4.30pm at Waterfront Plaza and Memorial Park, The Entrance, is free.

It is backed up by events on Friday and Saturday, with local venues featuring live entertainment such as Chelsea Berman, Whiskey River, Red Dirt Band, Roadhouse, Peter Stefanson, Neilly Rich and Redneck Gentlemen, and buskers and markets keeping festival-goers entertained on Saturday.

To find out more, go to www.centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/events.


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