COUNTRY STAR: Music artist Reg Poolel and his wife Dot are no strangers to the roundup and were happy to be back for the Leeton event again. Photo: Ron ArelQUALITY music and a new injection of activities all featured to make this year’s Leeton Country Roundup one of the best yet.
Held from last Wednesday, country music artists from across Australiaparticipated, with a good number of spectators also travelling to town to soak it all in.
Co-organier Mark Hillier said an added bonus this year was new artists from Queensland taking part in the event.
“We brought them down here and it turned out to be a great success,” he said.
“The artistsall love coming here because it’s a great town.”
Added to the mix over the five daysof seasoned professionals was oneyoung artistlooking to share her talents with the crowd, earning herself rave reviews.
“We had a young girl this year, only 15, Harriet Kelly, who is very very good,” Mr Hillier said.
“She’s been working with (Leeton artist)Sharon (Benjamin) to learn a few facets of the industry.
“Sharon wants to pass her experience on and help her get into it.
“That’s part of what we do, we want to give these kids somewhere they can go and hone their craft a bit more.”
On his third visit to the roundup, country music legend Reg Poole was eager to return.
“I really enjoy it,” Mr Poole said.
“It’s good fun and it’s almost like coming home.”
Deciding to take a risk, Mr Poole decided to sell his dairy farm and try his hand at making music.
His first recording session was in 1972 and before long he was recognized on a national stage.
Mr Poole’s accolades mark a long and distinguished career among which are three goldguitar awards for best new talent in 1974, and two heritage awards in 1981 and 1985.
He lovedbeing able to engage with his audience through music.
“You get to go to a lot of different places, meet a lot of different people and see a lot of different things that you might not ordinarily get to see,” he said.
“Whileit hasn’t been easy, it’sbetter than milking cows.”
The Leeton Country Roundup has grown over the years and after many of thosebeing packed in tight at the Mia Function Centre, organiserswere forced to look for more space. The committee has nowmoved the eventto the Leeton Jockey Club, which isallowing the festival to expand.
With more people on hand this year, organisers werepleased to see visitorscome to stay in Leeton, which also benefited the town’s economy.
“The money that’s brought to the town, people are buying fuel and groceries,” Mr Hillier said. On top of the economic bonuses, the roundup also raises money for charity and community groups within the shire.
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