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Wheatbelt Touring Circuit announces WAMbassador initiative and program

14 Jul


Events, Regional



Ahead of the 2016/17 Wheatbelt Touring Circuit kicking off in award-winning style this weekend, WAM is excited to announce our new Wheatbelt WAMbassador initiative, championing both Wheatbelt artists and road safety messages, with support from presenting partner RAC. This also coincides with the launch of the Wheatbelt Touring Circuit program, produced in collaboration with RAC.


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The six chosen representatives are Erin Pope, Ash Nardini, Pete Byfield, Hayden Sprigg, Polly Medlen and Jayden Crook (playing the first tour, along with his band The Primary Collective, this Saturday). The Wheatbelt WAMbassadors will each participate in one tour during the 2016/17 Wheatbelt Touring Circuit. These passionate ‘WAMbassadors’ will engage with Wheatbelt communities, help grow their local music scene and champion road safety messages.

RAC launched its Elephant in the Wheatbelt campaign in 2015 to highlight the region’s road fatality rate. The life-sized African elephant sculpture, made from the bodies of wrecked cars, symbolises the ‘elephant in the room’ and the silence that surrounds road trauma in the region. The Elephant in the Wheatbelt is part of RAC’s five-year campaign to highlight the Wheatbelt’s unacceptable road safety record, and WAM is excited to complement this with the new Wheatbelt WAMbassadors initiative.

WAM CEO Mike Harris commented, “Our Wheatbelt Touring Circuit has gone from strength to strength, and is now established as a key part of the social calendars of Wheatbelt communities. It is also very much on the radar of WA musicians, with unprecedented number of expressions of interest to play received.”

“Thanks again to RAC for their support of the Circuit and their engagement in the WAMbassador program,” he added. “The road safety message is crucial in a region that consistently has one of Western Australia’s worst road fatality rates. Music is, as ever, the best medium for delivering powerful messages, and the involvement of local artists makes that messaging even more potent in the case of the Wheatbelt.”

RAC General Manager Corporate Affairs Will Golsby said the WAMbassadors will engage with the community to raise awareness about the region’s unacceptable road safety record and to help save lives and stop serious injuries on Wheatbelt roads.

“Tragically, more loved ones have already died on Wheatbelt roads so far this year than the total lives lost in the region in 2015,” he said. “Last year, the Wheatbelt road fatality rate was six times the Perth metropolitan rate, four times the state rate and well above nearby regions, with serious injuries also occurring right across the region.

“The WAMbassadors will drive community discussion about how everyone has a responsibility to help save lives and prevent serious injuries, given 65 per cent of Wheatbelt crashes can be attributed to deliberate driver choices, such as speed, drink driving and inattention.”

WAM will be delivering 10 quality line-ups of original, live music entertainment during the Wheatbelt Touring Circuit, and together with the RAC, encourages everyone to think about road safety along the way.



ERIN POPE: In between university studies and traveling, Erin plays at events in the Wheatbelt and local venues in Fremantle. Tales of Erin’s backpacking adventures through Vietnam, Nepal and Ethiopia come out in her music, a blend of acoustic, folk and blues. She became a WAMbassador because she wanted to share the road safety message with her community that even if you’re not directly involved in a car crash, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel the impact.

HAYDEN SPRIGG: Country musician Hayden Sprigg is a singer and songwriter hailing from Mukinbudin in the Central East Wheatbelt region. Hayden’s folk and country music is influenced by the likes of the Zac Brown Band, Steve Earle and Brad Paisley. He was featured on the 2014 WAM Sounds Of The Wheatbelt album and was part of the Wheatbelt Touring Circuit in 2015. Hayden enjoyed sharing his music and promoting road safety messages as part of the Wheatbelt Touring Circuit, which is why he decided to become a WAMbassador.

PETE BYFIELD: Alternative country musician Pete Byfield has lived in the Wheatbelt for most of his life, and much of his music is inspired by the region. Pete’s song Wialki featured on the 2014 WAM Sounds Of The Wheatbelt album, and in 2015 Pete released his first album, One, which took home the 2016 WA Country Music Awards ‘Album of the Year’. His song Ashes received a nomination for WAM Song Of The Year in 2016. Choosing to become a WAMbassador was a logical flow on from Pete’s involvement with RAC, and the It’s My Elephant campaign. He has lost a number of very close friends in road crashes over the years. Alcohol, speed and inexperience were factors.

ASH NARDINI: Guitarist and bass player, Ash Nardini has been on the local music scene for 20 years. During this time he’s played in a number of cover bands, been appointed president of the Narrogin Musicians Association and started his own PA and production business, supplying sound reinforcement to events on a local scale. Having seen the pain that road trauma brings families, Ash has embraced the opportunity to become a WAMbassador.

POLLY MEDLEN: The Polly Medlen Band has plenty of experience on the live music circuit in Perth and throughout regional WA, lining up with favourites Abbe May and Ruby Boots and supporting acts like Kasey Chambers and Troy Cassar-Daley. They’ve also enjoyed multiple wins in the WAM Song Of The Year Awards in the Country category, and a WAMi nomination for Country Artist of the Year. For Polly, becoming a WAMbassador was a natural choice given her passionate belief in the importance of the Wheatbelt Touring Circuit and RAC’s road safety messages.

JAYDEN CROOK: Jayden has played at the Guilford Heritage Festival, at venues throughout the Wheatbelt and opened for country musician Adam Brand. All the while, Jayden was quietly writing his own music, which he was encouraged to share through WAM’s regional programs. He now also leads The Primary Collective. Jayden is passionate about live gigs and the work WAM is doing to develop regional music scenes, meaning he jumped at the opportunity to become a WAMbassador.



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– Headliners all dates, plus w/ supports as listed below –

Fri 15 July – The Riverside Hotel, Northam (w/ Kitt Byfield)

Sat 16 July – Tivoli Room, The Cummins Theatre, Merredin (The Primary Collective feat. Wheatbelt WAMbassador Jayden Crook)

Sun 17 July – Quindanning Inne (w/ Narrogin Musicians Association guest Thump)



Wheatbelt Touring Circuit presented by:

RAC, Department of Culture and the Arts, Royalties for Regions and Country Arts WA

The regional tour has been funded through the State Government’s Royalties for Regions Program. The Regional Tours Fund is administered by the Department of Culture and the Arts in consultation with the Department of Regional Development.

Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.