COUNTRY CAMPOUT:  Greg Baldock entertains the crowd
COUNTRY CAMPOUT: Greg Baldock entertains the crowd Greg Bray

Rain doesn't dampen fun at Country Campout

I love a rainy night.

A couple of passing showers did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd at the Elders Country Campout on Saturday night.

At 7pm, a slightly damp organiser, Jack Viljoen, pointed out that one of the group's goals was to weather proof future events.

"Of the seven festivals we've put on it's only rained twice, which isn't so bad, but for safety reasons we have to stop the show," he said.

Jack pointed to the hundreds of country music lovers seated under several large marquees enjoying a chat and waiting for the showers to pass.

It's one of the great things about this festival, the people just take it in their stride, they're still having a good time.


Guest star of the event, 8 Ball Aitken, arrived during the final downpour after a long drive from Airlie Beach.

The swamp blues, slide-guitar playing, sensation grew up in Tully, so the rain doesn't faze him.

"We'll wait, if there's five people or 500 it doesn't matter, I'll still give them a great show," he said.

His recent album, Swamp Blues, has rocketed to #2 on the Australian Blues Charts and his touring schedule is just as impressive with over 50 shows scheduled around Australia and the USA between now and September.

He's raring to go and as soon as dinner is over, a space is cleared under the tin roof of the kitchen shelter.

As the stars came out so did the crowd to see what 8 Ball does best, sing, tell jokes and get people up and dancing with his unique blend of 'hell-billy' country blues.

This years' Campout was attended by a record breaking crowd of over 700 people, but Jack says the weekend still has a unique, homely feel to it.

"It's more like a huge family re-union than a festival," he said.

The festival committee hope to build a large enough shelter to keep the entertainers and sound systems dry during future festivals.

Either way, the show will go on, come rain or shine.