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Top 10 Finalists for Toyota Star Maker Announced

08 December 2015

Top 10 Finalists for Toyota Star Maker Announced

Fairfax Rural Events and Toyota are proud to announce the finalists for the 2016 Toyota Star Maker competition, Australia’s most prestigious country music talent search. 

Ten of Australia’s top emerging country music artists will now compete to become the 37th Toyota Star Maker winner at the Toyota Star Maker Final 10, the main event on the first Sunday of the iconic Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth.   

In addition to bragging rights, the winner will receive a prize package including a brand new Toyota vehicle, an unlimited fuel card for 12 months to transport them around the country, plus guaranteed performances at major festivals and events throughout Australia. 

This year Toyota celebrates 21 years of support of Star Maker which offers emerging country music talent the opportunity to realise their dreams. It’s been a stepping stone in the careers of some of the industry’s biggest names including Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, Beccy Cole, James Blundell, Darren Coggan, Travis Collins, Samantha McClymont, Kirsty Lee Akers, Luke Austen, Bob Corbett, Luke Dickens, Jared Porter, Kaylee Bell and more. 

The 2016 Toyota Star Maker finalists, chosen from across the country are:
1.     Allison Forbes, Tamworth NSW
2.     Damien Agius, North Eton QLD
3.     Hayley Jensen, Pyrmont NSW
4.     Hayley Marsten, Gladstone QLD
5.     Karin Page, Wembley Downs WA
6.     Kate Hindle, Collie WA
7.     Liam Kennedy-Clark, Sippy Downs QLD
8.     Missy Lancaster, Picton NSW
9.     Sharmain Kendrick, Landsdale WA
10.  Tom Coulson, Honeywood TAS 

The final takes place on Sunday 17 January where three grand finalists will be selected to compete in the Toyota Star Maker Grand Final on Friday 22 January as a part of the Toyota Concert For Rural Australia.   

Toyota Star Maker Co-ordinator, Cheryl Byrnes was full of praise for all the talent search’s entrants. 

“Toyota Star Maker is a fabulous opportunity and it truly is getting harder to judge each year with those entering continuing to raise the bar,” Cheryl said.  

“It’s a great platform giving the finalists and the winner a jumpstart in their careers. For the winner the title also brings exposure to great contacts in the industry and a variety of exciting challenges.” Cheryl added. 

During the Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth, the three grand finalists will have a busy week of media and promotional appearances at Tamworth Shoppingworld, The Pig & Tinder Box, Coca-Cola Country and Toyota FanZone. In addition, the three will appear as guests of The McClymonts at the trio’s only major Tamworth show on Thursday 21 January. 

The Toyota Concert for Rural Australia will feature country music stars and Toyota ambassadors Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts, and Mickey Pye, the 2015 Toyota Star Maker winner. Former Toyota Star Maker winners Travis Collins, Lyn Bowtell and Kate Ballantyne with Karen O’Shea – Bella, Luke Dickens, Luke Austen, Jared Porter, Kaylee Bell and Grant Richardson will also perform along with more special guest artists. The Toyota Concert for Rural Australia is free concert held at Toyota Park, with donations made on the night going directly to the McGrath Foundation.  

Tony Cramb, executive director of sales and marketing for Toyota Australia added, “We would like to congratulate the 2016 Toyota Star Maker finalists, making it this far is a huge achievement in itself. The Toyota Star Maker is a competition we are extremely proud to support. To help launch the careers of Australia’s next country music star is just one way for us to show our genuine commitment to supporting rural and regional Australia.” 

The Toyota Star Maker Final will be held at the Tamworth Town Hall from 7pm on Sunday 17 January, 2016 with the top ten and will also feature former winners The Bob Corbett Band (2011), Mickey Pye (2015) and compere Darren Coggan (1996). 

Standard ticket is $25; Pensioners/Seniors $20; Children Under 16 FREE; *VIP tickets $40 *which includes a copy of Mickey Pye’s debut album Unleashed, a souvenir program and VIP seating at the Toyota Concert In The Park. 

Tickets for the Toyota Star Maker Final 10 can be purchased online through or by phoning 02 6767 5300. 

The Toyota Star Maker Grand Final 3 will be staged in Toyota Park from 6.30pm on Friday, January 22, 2016 with the top three and will feature Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts, Travis Collins, Bella, Luke Austen, Luke Dickens, Kaylee Bell, Jared Porter, Grant Richardson and surprise guests.

Tamworth Regional Council acknowledges the Gamilaroi/Kamilaroi people, who are the Traditional Custodians of this land. We would like to pay respect to Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in and visiting our region.