Country singers and fans hit the high seas next Sunday, when Cruisin’ Country departs Sydney.
The eight-day cruise will travel to Vanuatu and Noumea before returning to Australia, and over that time more than 30 country artists will take to the ship’s stage.
This year, it has a family theme, with acts including sister group The McClymonts, the Kirkpatrick Family, brother and sister duo Kaylens Rain, as well as both Lee and Tania Kernaghan aboard.
And Tamworth’s own husband and wife duo, Laurie and Shelley Minson have been booked to perform on Crusin’ Country for the first time.
“It’s called the family reunion tour,” Shelley Minson told Talkin’ Country.
“John Williamson’s playing along with his daughter Ami, and a lot of the major artists are bringing other family members as well.”
Other artists on board include Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole, Catherine Britt, James Blundell, Amber Lawrence, Luke O’Shea and Pete Denahy.
Shelley and Laurie’s rockabilly show will perform four gigs during the voyage in front of the sold-out crowd.
“I’ve never been on a cruise before, so I’m looking forward to that,” Shelley said. “And just having the opportunity to perform amongst some of these great names of Australian country music, it’s a real thrill for me.
“Even though Laurie’s been playing music for a long time, I’m only a bit of a newcomer, so it’s pretty exciting.”
The husband and wife duo have spoken to artists who have already experienced the annual cruise, and
“The ones that have been on it before say it’s great fun, and once you get on the boat you can’t go anywhere and it forces people to relax a bit.”
Another Tamworth artist, Ashleigh Dallas, will also be on board.
“I have set sail on Cruisin' Country a couple of times, and always love the week playing music on the sea,” Dallas said.
“This year I'm excited to be sharing the stage with my dad Brett Dallas amongst an amazing line-up of artists but also having a week meeting the fans and also spending time with my family on the ship.”
During the cruise, fans are invited to get involved with open mic sessions, songwriting and guitar workshops, as well as dance lessons.
The cruise is now in its seventh year, and another band returning after playing on a previous Cruisin’ Country is The Bushwackers.
“I guess its the new alternative festival in some ways. A lot of people prefer to do that than other sorts of festivals, because it’s comfortable,” bass player Roger Corbett said.
“Everybody is there for the same reason, to have fun and let their hair down a bit.
“There’s nothing like being away from land to make you go wild,” he said.
There’s nothing like being away from land to make you go wild.