Whitsundays music icon Kieran McCarthy.
Whitsundays music icon Kieran McCarthy.

Mr Whitsunday joined by friends at festival gig

KIERAN McCarthy is 'Mr Whitsunday' when it comes to the music scene in Airlie Beach.

At least that's what Airlie Beach Festival of Music founder Gavin Butlin believes, and it's the reason he's given the local legend a spot on the main stage line-up for 2018.

But Kieran McCarthy won't be playing solo to the 3000-strong crowd at the Whitsunday Sailing Club.

The man who's played more than 4000 Whitsunday gigs in 30 years predominantly alone, will finally be supported by an eight-piece band.

That band comprises some of the best musicians in Australia, including locals Mark Roberts and Tony Fossey; Damon Stone, Johnny Zak and well known guitarist Jimmi Hocking; fiddle player Clare O'Meara and Michael Caruana from Jacuzzi Masterpiece and the Melbourne Ska Orchestra.

Originally planning to play songs from his latest album, Kieran says they've "deviated away" from this and will instead be playing old favourites from his back catalogue, including 'November' and the Whitsunday anthem 'Blue on Blue'.

"The only non-original song will be 'Diamantina Drover' which is an old Red Gum song and one of the last things Phil Emmanuel recorded with me before he passed away," Kieran said.

"The plan was for Phil to get up on stage and do that with me so we'll be performing it in his honour."

Describing himself as humbled "and a little bit frightened", Kieran said he was looking forward to the gig.

"There's going to be a lot of talent on that stage - they all show me up a bit," he joked.

Mr Butlin said it would mean a lot to Whitsunday locals to see Kieran "up there on the main stage belting out his songs with a magic band behind him".

"Kieran's music relates to the people of the Whitsundays, whether you're a sailor, a drinker, a lover, or whatever you are - from kids to grandparents," he said.

"He's the Jimmy Buffet of this area and no-one's more worthy of being on that main stage than Kieran is."

See Kieran McCarthy & The Spare Parts this Sunday, November 11 at 2.20pm.


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