Australia has a new country music festival, boosting the live music scene. 

Howlin Country is coming to Newcastle on February 15th, 2025, for one day only – one day, one stage, all-ages with a lineup featuring both international and local artists.

“Lay up and enjoy the day – Howlin is here for a good time not a long time,” a press release reads. “Punters can kickback along the water with the golden sun, being whisked away by the heartfelt stories and vibrant sounds of country, Americana and a dash of Australian rock.”

Howlin Country will take place at Newcastle Foreshore, which is described as being the “perfect meeting point for lovers of all things country.”

The festival lineup will be unveiled on Monday, July 8th. We’ll bring you all the details next week.

In the meantime, anyone interested can sign up for the pre-sale here, which opens on Thursday, July 11th at 2pm local time.

The announcement of Howlin Country is not the only good news Australian music has received this week.

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A former beloved institution in Melbourne’s live music scene is under new ownership, aiming to restore it to its former glory.

Located at 376 Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, Melbourne, the site was once home to the Punters Club, renowned as one of Melbourne’s top music venues since the mid-1980s.

Known for its gritty vibe and sticky floorboards, it hosted nationally known acts like Something For Kate, Spiderbait, Magic Dirt, and You Am I early in their careers.

The Punters Club closed in 2002 after a legendary 12-hour music marathon, later transforming into Bimbo Deluxe pizza bar and most recently, Kewpie Nightclub, offering cheap pizzas and DJ nights.

As first reported by author and broadcaster Jane Gazzo on the Sound as Ever page, Punters Club is making a comeback.

And the new owners are wasting no time. They’re restoring the pub’s original name, The Punters Club, as locals still refer to it. The exterior will revert to its original cream and green colors. Inside, old wood panels are being restored, and they’re acquiring 90s band posters for decoration. A CD player jukebox filled with local Australian 90s CDs will also be installed.

In a statement, they said:

“We see this new era as a love letter to the original pub which Matt and Penny Everett so beautifully created. We plan to focus on music and music events but also create a community for all music lovers and locals. We want to honour what it once was while also creating something new.”

They plan to open in early August.

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