Multi-award-­winning country music artist Catherine Britt.
Multi-award-­winning country music artist Catherine Britt.

Britt bringing joy to towns that need it

CATHERINE Britt's Bush Pubs Tour 2020 will arrive at the Harvey Road Tavern next week as part of a 43-gig ­journey lasting until May and taking in rural destinations around NSW, South Aus­tralia, Queensland and ­Tasmania.

Britt, a multi-award-­winning country music artist, said this week that the tour would finish in the South Australian town of Oodnadatta, after kicking off in Tamworth in February, and she was looking forward to performing in Gladstone.

"It's been great so far. The gigs have been so special," she said.

"At the start of the tour the fires stopped and the drought broke, so everyone was happy. It felt like Australia had had a weight lifted.

"Everyone is coming out and they're in a good mood and their spirits are lifted."

Based in Newcastle, Britt said it was important for artists to travel to rural and bush towns and she encouraged more to make the effort and support regional areas.

"Back in the day, Slim Dusty would go out on a caravan tour to remote areas ad Aboriginal communities," she said.

"I saw a real need for it and realised how thirsty they were for music in the bush."

Britt said she wanted to entice more people and cash to areas that needed it.

At each performance, she has a bucket for donations and the money is then given to a local school or cause.

"In one town we raised money for the hall, which they needed to put an air-con in," she said.

She said she had noticed an influx of young people in rural areas who didn't have anywhere to go but wanted to "come out and have a great time".

"The whole aim of the tour is about putting a little spike into the towns as far as money goes and bringing the community together in these times we've been going through," she said.

Britt said it was vital that people in rural areas had chances to develop connections - sometimes with an old friend from down the road who they might not have seen for a while.

"And then they might see each other at a gig. They're also very family-orientated gigs and even though it's night time there's kids running around," she said.

People in the bush, she said, had "so many struggles", especially during times of drought.

"One of the biggest is the male suicide rate and I think a lot of that has to do with feeling isolated and not having those connections that people need," she said.

"These events do remind them that they are part of a community, which they can reach out to at any time."

Britts said she would like to keep touring, making regular trips to the same places and giving people live music events to look forward to.

She has five Golden Guitar Awards, three of which are for Female Artist Of The Year.

Six of the seven albums she has released have been nominated for the ARIA Award for the Best Country Album release and, in 2010, Catherine was presented with the CMA Global Artist of the Year award. She will perform at the Harvey Road Tavern on Friday, March 13, from 8-11pm. Entry is free.