CMC Rocks Queensland will be back better than ever in 2022. Starting back in 2008, we check in Festival Director - JEREMY DYLAN to share some history on how CMC Rocks has developed into Australia’s biggest international country music festival.
Where did the idea of CMC Rocks originate?
For many years, my father Rob Potts visited the US and attended the massive country music festivals over there. He was convinced that a large-scale country festival could be huge for country music in Australia.
Rob brought the idea to Michael Chugg, who was one of the few major players in Australia who took country music seriously and saw a proper future for it here. His backing and experience made the whole idea viable. With the Country Music Channel coming on board as our media partner, we were off to the races.
The festival has been hosted in a few different venues over the years. Can you talk about how the festival has evolved to now make Willowbank in Queensland its home?
We loved Thredbo, where we first held the festival for the first three years, but once we booked Alan Jackson to headline 2011 we knew we were going to sell more tickets than it could accommodate. We then moved to the Hunter Valley, and we had four incredible years at that site, but we could see from looking at our ticket sales that so many people were traveling down from Queensland.
That’s when we made the move to Willowbank Raceway where we have double the fans on site than what we did in the Hunter Valley.
CMC Rocks is renowned for introducing many artists to audiences in Australia. Which artists are you most proud of bringing to Australia for the first time?
It’s hard to beat having Taylor Swift on our second year back in 2009, just on the cusp of superstardom. I think everyone who was at that festival will remember that night forever.
Artists like Luke Combs, Kelsea Ballerini and Kip Moore have proved that Aussie fans just love acts who really deliver live, bring that passion and empty the tank on stage. When we finally got Luke Bryan in 2018, we sold out the festival in 90 minutes!
Our 2022 lineup is nothing short of bucket list artists.
CMC Rocks isn’t just about the artists performing. Can you tell us about what else country music fans experience at the festival?
One of our secret weapons is the Songwriters Shows, each afternoon in our Campers Bar tent we have huge artists playing on stage together acoustically and sharing the stories behind their biggest songs. It’s such an intimate thing and not something you see at other festivals.
Camping is a big part of the festival. What do you think is the best part of that experience for fans?
The Campers Bar! It opens for campers on the Wednesday, and then on Thursday we have a full day of music there. Memories are already being made early into the festival weekend there.
I think the main thing people love about camping is that it’s like a little city of strangers who become friends.
What are you most looking forward to for the 2022 festival?
The biggest thing is just being back. As much as all our fans have missed CMC Rocks, we have just as much, if not more. Our 2022 lineup is nothing short of bucket list artists.
My personal favorite moment is the moment just as a set is about to start – when those tens of thousands of people in the crowd are holding their breath because they know that an artist they’ve spent years listening to and loving is about to come out and play the songs that have soundtracked their lives