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Who will be Australia's next big country star?

08 December 2017


Fairfax Rural Events and Toyota are proud to announce exciting changes to Australia’s most prestigious country music talent search. Ten of Australia’s top emerging talent will vie for the honour of becoming the 38th Toyota Star Maker in a winner-takes-all, event in Toyota Park, in the leafy heart of Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital. Toyota Star Maker has traditionally been the main event of the first festival weekend, but this concert on Sunday, January 22, makes it an even more significant occasion. For the very first time in Star Maker history, the event will be FREE, with all 10 finalists being judged on the night, with one winner emerging.

The winner will receive a prize package which includes a new Toyota motor vehicle, an unlimited fuel card for 12 months to transport them around the country, plus guaranteed performances at major festivals and events throughout Australia. Toyota has a long and proud history of supporting country music in Australia, including 22 years of sponsoring the emerging artists of Star Maker and 25 years backing the overall Country Music Festival in Tamworth.

Among the exclusive Star Maker alumni are Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban, Beccy Cole, James Blundell, Darren Coggan, Travis Collins, Gina Jeffreys, Samantha McClymont, Kirsty Lee Akers, Kaylee Bell and many more. The 2017 Toyota Star Maker finalists, chosen from across the country, are:

  1. Andrew Swift, Berwick Vic
  2. Angus Gill, Wauchope NSW
  3. Brook Chivell, Labrador Qld
  4. Cassidy Rae Gaiter, Flagstaff Hill SA
  5. Jade Holland, Balgal Beach Qld
  6. Liam Kennedy-Clark, Sippy Downs Qld
  7. Meg Doherty, Pakenham Vic
  8. Megan Sidwell, Melbourne Vic
  9. Michelle Plozza, Kingston Qld
  10. Rachael Fahim, Cherrybrook NSW

Toyota Star Maker co-ordinator Cheryl Byrnes said she was delighted with the standard of performers applying for Toyota Star Maker 2017.

“Toyota Star Maker is a fabulous opportunity and it truly is getting harder to judge each year as entrants raise the bar,” Ms Byrnes said.

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

Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive director Tony Cramb was thrilled with the exciting changes to this long-established quest.

“It’s a wonderful thing that Star Maker will now be so much more accessible to a worldwide audience, through live-streaming in the park, and an absolutely free event for the public,” Mr Cramb said.

“Toyota is very proud of its long association with this prestigious quest and we offer our hearty congratulations to the 2017 finalists.

“We wish each and every finalist the very best on the night. It is a pleasure and a privilege to play a role in launching another new career onto the Australian country music scene.

“It is yet another way in which Toyota can show its commitment to supporting rural and regional Australia.”

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.