The Church is one of the headline acts performing at this weekend's Airlie Beach Festival of Music.
The Church is one of the headline acts performing at this weekend's Airlie Beach Festival of Music. malcolm viles

THE CHURCH CALLED TO AIRLIE

RENOWNED Aussie band The Church is among the star attractions at this weekend's Airlie Beach Festival of Music.

The group best known for hits such as Unguarded Moment, Almost With You and Under The Milky Way has been a fixture of the scene since 1980.

But in 38 years on the road, the Whitsundays has not been a destination, that is until now. "Nobody had ever asked us to play there before,” lead vocalist Steve Kilbey told the Whitsunday Times.

"Once we were offered the opportunity to come and play at the festival, it was too good of a chance to pass up.”

Kilbey reminisced about his previous visit to the region, which came when he was a teenager in the early 1970s.

"It's been 45 years or so since I was last in Airlie Beach,” he said.

"I travelled up with mum and my brothers. It was a charming little place then, although they tell me it has changed a bit since then.

"We went out on a glass- bottom boat with some of the other tourists, and there was this one man saying to his wife 'That's real coral Shirl'.

"By the time we came back to shore my brother had perfected 'real coral Shirl' and it still gets a mention all these years later.”

Even after more than four decades of performing, including 38 years with The Church, Kilbey said the passion for the craft remained.

"I love it more than ever,” he said.

"We're a really good band right now, especially since the arrival of Ian Haug from Powderfinger (as a guitarist).

"We've just got back from touring America and England for five weeks.

"We played 40 shows, so we're pretty tight and hopefully put on a good show for those people coming to the Airlie Beach Festival of Music.”


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