The region will be treated to an exciting
performance by a world-renowned musician, with Thirsty Merc’s Rai
Thistlethwayte announced as the Big Chill Beer and Barbecue Festival’s headline
act on Saturday 15 May.
Rai has established himself as one of Australia’s
most respected musical talents, and is a highly accomplished pianist,
guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. As a solo artist, he has been nominated for
the APRA Song of the Year and has released four solo EPs since 2012.
His band Thirsty Merc has sold over 250,000 albums nationally, and has
been nominated for five ARIA awards. Since 2002, the iconic band has released
four studio albums and a string of hits including Rai’s composition ‘In The
Summertime’, which has been the theme song to popular television show ‘Bondi
Rescue’ for fifteen consecutive seasons.
As a solo artist, Rai is inspired by his love of jazz, soul and groove
music, and has collaborated with notable artists such as ARIA award-winning
guitarist James Muller, trumpeter James Morrison, and Grammy nominated US jazz
bassist Christian McBride.
Armidale Regional Council’s General Manager James
Roncon said the announcement of Rai as the headline act is a huge drawcard for
both tourists and locals.
“Bringing a world-renowned musician such as Rai
Thistlethwayte to Armidale is such a huge win for our community and it will
ensure the Big Chill Beer and Barbecue Festival is an event to remember,” said
“Our local tourism and events sector has taken a
huge hit as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, bushfires and drought, so this
announcement is sure to draw visitors to the region and alleviate some of the
pain the community has endured over the past couple of years.”
Despite having toured internationally in the past,
Rai said he is excited to come to Armidale as it is of close significance to
him and his family.
“One of my
earliest memories as a gigging muso was a band road trip to Armidale when I was
only 16,” he said.
“My mum, who taught me music, studied a doctorate
in music history at the University of New England, so Armidale is close to my
After a tough year for the music industry, Rai
said he is excited to be back on the road.
“I’m stoked to see that gigs are coming back and
I’m really looking forward to the Big Chill!” he said.
In addition to Rai, there will a great line-up of
supporting acts such as James Bennett and Charlie Fittler with more exciting
names to be announced in the coming weeks.
If you want to join this stellar line-up, there
is still time to submit an application to be one of the acts to play during the
festival. Simply visit the Big Chill website and complete the online application form.