Horsham Country Music Festival comes to a close

COUNTRY music lovers from across Australia descended on Horsham from Thursday to yesterday for the seventh annual Horsham Country Music Festival.

Country fans on deck chairs were scattered on the grass at Horsham soundshell throughout the festival's main events on Saturday and yesterday, while a record number of people strutted their stuff on the dance floor.

Organiser Lyall Wheaton said the festival had gone to a new level this year.

"It's been our biggest and best festival so far," he said. "We're anticipating a growth of between 10 and 20 per cent on crowds from last year.

"It's been a year of consolidation after last year where we had a 30 per cent increase in crowds."

Mr Wheaton praised both the professional and non-professional acts who played at the weekend.

He said a younger line-up of artists had improved the character of the festival.

"Overall, it's been a fantastic weekend," he said. "We've seen more people on the dance floor this year than any other year.

"The four female artists Johanna Hemara, Michelle Little, Sandra Humphries and Sandie Dodd stole the show with their youth and enthusiasm.

"Don Costa has been a crowd favourite and the dance floor was pretty busy on Saturday night during his set that's down to the style of the entertainment.

"The quality of the artists has certainly been superior to previous years."

Aside from the prominent artists who graced the stage at the soundshell, there were a series of free events across Horsham to showcase new talent.

Best busker was won by Vanessa Waara, while Bill Duffy was awarded best walk-up act.

Both artists performed at the soundshell yesterday.

John Tehan came from Rochester to perform his mixture of bush poetry and country music.

A veteran of country music festivals across the nation, Mr Tehan said Horsham's festival had a fantastic atmosphere.

He said over the course of the festival, he had seen the bond between country music fans.

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