ROCK STARS: The Bush Turkey Band - Alex Pattri, Ben Wight, Ray Marx and Jeff Joseph - is playing in China.
ROCK STARS: The Bush Turkey Band - Alex Pattri, Ben Wight, Ray Marx and Jeff Joseph - is playing in China. Contributed

Sunshine Coast turkeys have China listening

BLI BLI's Ray Marx found out what a rock star's welcome was like when his band played in China in 2002.

"They had a billboard made up for us when we arrived. It was like a city block," he said.

Mr Marx and the Bush Turkey Band are likely to receive the same treatment again during a return trip.

Fourteen years after the band last visited China, members have headed back on a cultural exchange tour.

The four-piece band, which plays a mixture of bush music and covers, will perform at the China International Leisure Tourism Expo in Xiamen.

Although the band has a solid following on the Sunshine Coast, in China, members are fated like stars.

"We did an hour live on China TV in 2002 to an audience of three billion," Mr Marx said.

The band members took the attention in their stride.

"People would come up and stand behind you and want their photo taken with you," Mr Marx said.

The line-up has changed a little since the band's last trip.

It now comprises Ben Wight, 19, on bass, guitar, drums and singing; singer and guitarist Jeff Joseph; violinist Alex Pattri; and Mr Marx on a modified drum kit and the Bodhran.

Mr Marx and Mr Pattri will spend 10 days in China while Mr Wight and Mr Joseph will stay on an extra week to travel.

The band's trip to China was sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Sister Cities Association in the interests of cultural exchange and Basset Barks.

Mr Marx said the exchange would hopefully draw the Coast and Xiamen closer and make more Chinese aware of what the Coast had to offer in business and as a holiday destination.

"We're trying to promote parts of our area to them and encourage them to come and spend their dollars on the Sunshine Coast," he said.


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