FRANKSTON artist Bill Duffy won the walk-ups section of the Horsham Country Music Festival at the weekend.
His reward was to play on the main stage at Horsham soundshell yesterday in front of the biggest crowd he had ever performed for.
"It was the highlight of my life," he said.
"I've played in little bands with a couple of people but mostly I play on my own I'll tell you what, I nearly fell off the stage with the sound they had.
"It's quite an experience, you couldn't buy that sort of experience.
"I was up half of the night worrying about it."
Duffy said the encouragement and support from others had led to him gaining confidence in his talent.
"The Peninsula Music club in Rye pushed me along and got me up and guided me and told me what to do. If I wasn't for them I wouldn't be here now," he said.
"I'd just been playing in the bedroom.
"John Tehan forced me to get up and sing a couple of years ago at Mildura and on it went from there."
Duffy said he favoured slower country ballads that appealed to the romantically-minded country music aficionado.
"I do mainly heart-felt songs," he said.
Duffy started his career three years ago at the age of 64.
"It's never too late, I'm still feeling like I'm 20 years old," he said.
Duffy said he hoped to return to Horsham for next year's festival.