In partnership with Great Southern Nights

Great Southern Nights 2024 comes to a close this weekend, winding up a live music spectacular of over 300 shows throughout New South Wales. Showcasing everything from music icons to fresh faces, Great Southern Nights’ mission has been to deliver live music to towns outside of the city – destinations usually omitted from touring itineraries, or a little too far out for Sydney acts.

Aptly seeing this mission to its conclusion will be two of Australia’s fastest rising talents and NSW luminaries in the making: singer-songwriter Ruby Fields and dancehall doyen Gold Fang. The latter’s ascension has been rapid since signing to NLV Records in 2021 – with the artist now approaching a staggering 7,000,000 streams – and Ruby Fields is still touring her critically-lauded, ARIA Number One debut album ‘Been Doin’ It For A Bit’.

Having this week dropped his new single ‘Replay’, hot on the heels of a cover of Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ for triple j’s Like A Version, the timing of Gold Fang’s Great Southern Nights appearance couldn’t be better. But this weekend is about more than just music. Gold Fang’s live show, dubbed More Life, is a communal celebration of Caribbean culture, another way for the Trinidadian expatriate to reconnect with his roots and a “no-brainer” exercise in representation and education.

“I’m a reggae dancehall artist and I want people to know the history and pioneers of this thing. I’m just a student,” he tells NME. “All in all, I want this night to be an ongoing thing if it can… for other Caribbean people to feel like they’ve got a home or somewhere to go.”

Since moving to Australia in 2015, Gold Fang’s conduit to his heritage has been music, ignited by seeing his uncle Errol Renaud’s reggae band as a kid. Now one of Australia’s most exciting Caribbean artists himself, Gold Fang sees Great Southern Nights as an excellent umbrella for More Life – and as a much-needed vessel for live music in regional NSW.

“Smaller towns never get enough love and are often overlooked,” he says, “so whenever there’s something going on in these smaller towns it’s always great to see. That’s exactly what they need.”

Ruby Fields agrees wholeheartedly. “It’s sick to be a part of an initiative aiming for accessibility to music in all areas of Australia. Being able to experience a live show is so important whether you have an interest in becoming a musician or not. It’s social, it’s bonding, it’s fun.

“Accessibility is key,” the Cronulla native adds. “Everyone deserves to be able to see a gig.”

And see a gig they will, with Ruby Fields peachy keen to return to one of her favourite NSW towns this Sunday as part of Great Southern Nights’ final run of shows.

“We love playing in Newcastle so much,” beams the singer. “We always have such a good connection to whoever comes along to watch. Fans can expect some rock songs, bad jokes and some sweat,” she half-jokingly adds.

With benefits ranging from cultural dissemination and accessibility, to regional economic boosts, to just good old fashioned entertainment, it’s easy to see why Great Southern Nights has struck a chord with performers and audiences alike. As its most ringing endorsement, even as regional NSW gets set for an incredible closing weekend to Great Southern Nights, the demand for its return has already begun.

Gold Fang’s event for Great Southern Nights, More Life, takes place March 23 (Saturday) at Sydney’s Lansdowne Hotel. Ruby Fields plays two shows (all ages and 18+) at Newcastle’s King Street Bandroom on March 24 (Sunday). Find out more about Great Southern Nights 2024 here

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