Take a road trip along a magical, musical trail

Queensland Music Trails open with outback itinerary.

A tourism experience with magical, musical moments.

That is how Brisbane singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke (pictured) describes the concept of Queensland Music Trails which begins this year.

The trails are presented by QMF (previously Queensland Music Festival) and are an evolution of its 20-year history of taking high-quality events to the regions.

The concept starts with the Outback Trail which will span two weeks and 1370km with a variety of shows – from opera to classic Aussie rock – at Jimbour, Charleville, Quilpie, Windorah and Birdsville.

QMF CEO Joel Edmondson said the trails would motivate more people to travel to regional Queensland for high-quality entertainment and memorable tourism experiences.

“This is about establishing a template for further trails around the state which will allow people to explore regional Queensland through music events,” Mr Edmondson said.

“This is really the world’s first attempt to do something like this at the scale that we’re trying to do it so that it is present throughout the whole state.”

Miller-Heidke will perform with acclaimed didgeridoo player and composer William Barton under the stars at Charleville’s Cosmos Centre.

“He’s actually been commissioned to write a new piece that celebrates Charleville and has a link to the stars,” Miller-Heidke said.

“This is a world premiere and the material is going to be intimately inspired by Charleville, so it’s really special.”

Miller-Heidke said along with other performers, she would be taking time to connect with the local community during her visit.

“As well as the concert we’re going to be around for a few days just being part of the community and making music with people who live around there,” she said.

“We’re not just going to be blowing in and out of town. We’re going to be getting community involvement in the actual concert itself as well.”

Miller-Heidke’s performance in Charleville will mark a homecoming of sorts.

“It’s rare to perform in regional Queensland and that’s why I am so excited to get this opportunity, particularly in Charleville because I lived there for a year when I was a kid,” she said.

“When I was in Grade 3 my father was principal of Charleville High School, so it will be great to get back.”

She described the concept of combining musical performances with road trips in support regional communities and their tourism industries as a “genius idea”.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea and it’s got so much potential,” Miller-Heidke said.

“I love the idea of following a festival along and getting to combine tourism with magical, musical moments and things you could never see or experience anywhere else.

“As an artist, the setting is so important with music or any live performance, so I think it’s a genius idea. 

“The trails are going to be programmed with deep sensitivity to the places so that we can have music that really works with some of the stunning natural landscapes that we have across regional Queensland.”  

Queensland Music Trails will grow in future years to include Far North Queensland, South-East Queensland, East Coast (Mackay to Sunshine Coast), Cape (Townsville to Bamaga), Gemfields (Emerald to Middlemount) and Coast to Coast (Yarrabah to Burketown).

Outback Trail schedule

Opera at Jimbour, Jimbour, 26-27 June

Opera at Jimbour is a weekend of intimate opera and chamber music performances from Opera Queensland inside the grounds of historic Jimbour Homestead.

Music for Stargazing, Charleville, 29-30 June

Kate Miller-Heidke and William Barton will deliver a concert inspired by outback stargazing and the history of Aboriginal navigation at the Cosmos Centre. It will feature the world premiere of a new commission by Barton, with help from Miller-Heidke, Veronique Serret, Jess Hitchcock, Keir Nuttal, Delmae Barton and Sam Pankhurst.

Echoes in the Dust, Quilpie, 1-2 July

The magnificent boulders of the Baldy Top lookout will provide the backdrop to an immersive musical experience. Musical soundscapes from Topology and giant dinosaur puppets by Dead Puppet Society will transport guests to ancient times.

Oasis Afternoons, Windorah, 3-4 July

Windorah will host a series of performances at Rabig Park from blues and roots artists Karl S Williams, Emily Wurramara and Hussy Hicks.

Big Red Bash, Birdsville, 6-8 July

The sold-out Big Red Bash will be a fitting finale to the inaugural Outback Trail with a huge line-up of stars taking to the stage over three days including Paul Kelly, Ian Moss, Tim Finn, Kate Ceberano, Ross Wilson and Glenn Shorrock.

RACQ members get 10% off ticket prices for Outback Trail events