Bendigo Au Go Go #26

Bendigo Au Go Go #26

It’s time to dust off your checked shirt and pull on your best cowboy boots because Gold Roses, Bendigo’s first alt-country music festival, is coming to town next month.

The inaugural edition of the boutique festival – at Handle Bar on Saturday, February 1 – will feature a stellar line-up of some of the finest Victorian artists working in the alt-country sub-genres of Americana, roots, folk, honky-tonk, and western swing.

Bendigo’s own roots rockers Four Lions will be joining two-stepping, honky-tonkin’ country collective James Ellis and the Jealous Guys, along with fellow Melbourne alt-country chanteuses Katie Bates, Kate Alexander and Hana Brenecki, and Geelong troubadour Nathan Seeckts. These acts have featured at top country music festivals around the nation and beyond, playing everywhere from Tamworth to Nashville across big stages and grungy dive bars. They’ve garnered airplay on radio stations Double J, RRR, PBS, ABC Country, and Geelong’s 94.7 The Pulse. Now Bendigo music fans can see these performers right here in their own backyard – and for free.

Four Lions frontman Shann Lions is the brainchild behind the alt-country extravaganza, which he plans to further develop next year. “It’s all about a diverse range of music being available to people in Bendigo,” Lions says. “I love alt-country, and other forms of country, and I am sure other people do, too. But they don’t get a lot of it in Bendigo, and I wanted to change that. So why not put on a boutique festival?”

Lions said he was also keen to ensure there was a solid representation of female artists on the bill.
“I think there’s not enough females on festivals, so I wanted to make sure we addressed that,” he says.

From 3pm; free entry.

Also happening in and around Bendigo this fortnight:

Local duo Jade Byrd bring their old-school jazzy blues to Rocks Underground (Rocks on Rosalind) on Friday, January 31. From 7pm; free entry; dining packages available from

It’s time to jump aboard the Blues Tram, this month featuring Brisbane-based singer-songwriter Hailey Calvert (with Jason Cameron) and local blues powerhouse Bill Barber. Saturday, February 8; departing Central Deborah Goldmine at 2pm and returning 4.30pm; tickets $39 from the Bendigo Visitor Centre (or online at

Local singer-songwriter Sherri Parry, accompanied by her full band, will launch her long-awaited debut album at The Old Church On The Hill on Saturday, February 8. From 7pm; tickets $12.50 from

Hailey Calvert will also appear at Shiraz Republic, Cornella, along with fellow singer-songwriter/guitarist Grim Fawkner, on Sunday, February 9. Lunch from 12pm; music from 2pm; free entry.

Acoustic duo Alex and Dan will perform at Axedale Tavern on Sunday, February 9. From 1pm; free entry.

Written by Lynette Walker. Lynette is a journalist who also manages Verse Chorus Verse