When Sheridan and Lauren Harvey set off from Geelong to Airlie Beach, little did they know they were on their way to becoming national winners. The sensational local sisters’ duo ‘Lash 78’ was one of 11 finalists in the Airlie Beach Festival of Music’s Australia-wide ‘Passport to Airlie’ competition, battling it out in a grand finale over the festival weekend. This event has become Australia’s largest live, original music movement.
Although the girls had already supported the likes of Thirsty Merc, Darryl Braithwaite and Shannon Noll, they never expected to represent Victoria, let alone claim a national win.
Assisted by the festival with accommodation and spending money, the siblings jumped in the car with their honourary roadie, unofficial taxi driver and dad, Tim, for the 2,476-kilometre drive.
Arriving in Airlie Beach at festival time exceeded the family’s expectations.
“You walk down the main strip and whether it’s to your right or your left, all the venues love original, live music,” Sheridan said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better audience or better places to perform.”
Buskers by the Creek organiser, Cindy Jensen, enthused, “Their song-writing ability, marketability, musicianship and personality all contribute to the full package. Their stage presence is beyond their years and the connection they have being sisters is special.”
“When we realised we were winners, the tears started rolling,” Lauren said. “We gave it our all and we told everyone that if we didn’t win the competition we’d be knocking down doors to get back to this festival next year, but actually winning has lit a fire under us and provided an opportunity we never thought we’d have.”
Festival founder, Gavin Butlin, congratulated everyone involved in the competition. “Lash 78 have won a spot on the main stage next year alongside our 2020 headline acts, and we’re already looking forward to welcoming them back,”
Although pleased to now be heading home to their mum and three other siblings, the girls had one final line about the Airlie Beach Festival of Music and the extended family they had made.
“If you’re thinking about a Thailand or Bali trip next year, don’t book it – invest in Australia, invest in Australian music, invest in local businesses and come to the Airlie Beach Festival of Music – you won’t be disappointed,” Sheridan said.
Only in Airlie Beach can you see 74 bands alongside 74 islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, with jaw-dropping sea views from the main tent at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, the Airlie Beach festival of Music is a party like no other in a tropical paradise. Sounds like we should all head up there to support our girls Lash78 next year!
Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photo: Cherrie Hughes