Meet Watty Thompson, the winner of Meadow festival’s local band competition

Meet Watty Thompson, the winner of Meadow festival’s local band competition

The local Otways artist has been given the task of knocking punters straight into festival-mode when the stage powers up on day one.

Known for his sentimental musings, powerful songwriting and unapologetic candour, local Otways artist Watty Thompson has been named as the winner of this year’s Meadow local band competition.

The competition is all about gifting the opportunity for an emerging artist from the local area to join the Meadow lineup, allowing them to share the stage with the likes of this year’s headliners Methyl Ethel, Tropical Fuck Storm, Maple Glider, MOD CON, Gabriella Cohen, Youth Group, Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton, Izy, Cookii, Middle Name Dance Band, Mess Esque and Teether & Kuya Neil, and more.

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After cutting his teeth in famed local rock ‘n’ roll bands of the 2010s (Sheriff, Jumpin’ Jack Williams, Bitter Sweet Kicks, The Neptune Power Federation) and gracing beloved, sticky-carpeted venues in Melbourne and across Australia, Thomspon returned to the vast Otways to pursue the music he’d long desired to write.

Armed with his masterful storytelling ability and meticulous musicianship, Thompson has emerged from the small regional town of Gerangamete as a powerful, moving and unique solo folk performer in Australia’s storytelling tradition. His authentic songwriting and meaningful storytelling have the ability to take you on a warm and poignant sonic journey, anchored by his unique vocal, lush instrumentals, floating over country-tinged guitars and ethereal folk soundscapes.

Having only released his debut single ‘The Beauty That Surrounds Ya’ last year and with a second single ‘Jenny’ due to be released soon, this is just an exciting taste of what to come from the already acclaimed artist as he steps out as a solo musician under his own name.

Ahead of opening Meadow festival’s proceedings with the first live set on Friday afternoon, we sat down with Thomspon to discuss his personal story, musicianship and of course, the upcoming performance at Meadow.

First up, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Watty Thompson. I’ve popped my head up around the traps in recent years as a folk performer of sorts. I’ve begun to release music in recent times and am very excited to have the opportunity to perform it live.

How did you get into music? Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
As a young kid in regional Victoria, I used to sneak down to the pub at the end of our street with an old guitar and play songs in the public bar for packets of chips and pots of raspberry. I continued playing music as I grew up and eventually moved to the big smoke as a young man looking to play in rock and roll bands. After years of performing in fast-paced, city-based rock and roll outfits, I was drawn back to the slower-paced lifestyle of country living and returned to the countryside to pursue the music that I’d long desired to write. The result is Watty Thompson.

Can you tell us a bit about the music you create? 
It’s heartfelt storytelling kind of stuff backed up with lush musical accompaniment. A little bit folk, a little bit country, 100% heart. The tunes are inspired by this beautiful country that we’re lucky enough to call home, its landscapes, things observed in life, life experiences and the never-ending lessons we learn along the way. Musically, it’s instruments that sound nice playing the melodies and add more emotion behind the stories! I spent a couple of years performing the songs solo to get the ball rolling but am now having fun playing the tunes with friends in a band.

Congrats on winning the Meadow band competition. What originally inspired you to enter?
Cheers! I’m lucky enough to live and create on Gadubanud Country in the Otways, a stone’s throw from where Meadow takes place. I entered the competition to have the opportunity to perform locally on a big stage with a big band! Meadow is a bloody ripper of a festival and I jumped at the opportunity when I saw it.

What does joining the lineup mean to you?
Joining this lineup means a lot! I’ve got an exciting year ahead with the release of a second single in the coming weeks and an album mid-year. Receiving the news of the opportunity to perform at Meadow got me even more revved up for this year. I was running around in circles!

You’re set to perform alongside this year’s menagerie of artists. Is there anyone on the bill you’re especially looking forward to seeing?
It’s an amazing lineup and I’m honoured to be a part of it. I’m a Tropical Fuck Storm fan so looking forward to that. My pal Ella Sweeney is performing and I can’t wait to see her and her band on the big stage. Some other pals play in Andy Golledge’s band so it will be fun to see them. Maple Glider’s album has been melting my soul and on high rotation in recent months so I am beyond excited to see it performed live. That’s just naming a few. We’re opening on Friday afternoon so I can’t wait to kick back and enjoy the entire lineup after our set.

Will this be your debut on the festival stage? 
The band will have had our first festival appearance earlier in March at NinchFest. Meadow will be our second festival stage! How lucky.

Where can we find your music?
The debut Watty single ‘The Beauty That Surrounds Ya’ can be found across all Watty Thompson channels including YouTube, Bandcamp, and a majority of other streaming services. Keep your ears peeled for the debut album later this year!

Thanks for chatting. Anything else you’d like to add?
Can’t bloody wait to perform for you at Meadow. See you all there on the Friday arvo!

Catch Watty Thompson and his band at Meadow, which is happening from Friday, March 25 until Sunday, March 27 2022 in Bambra, Victoria. Get your tickets here