The Frank Ifield International Spur Award
In 1998 The Rotary Club of Galston, the organisers of the highly successful Galston Country Music Festival, agreed to support the presentation of an annual award by the Festival Patron Mr Frank Ifield.
It was envisaged initially that this was an encouragement award to be presented to whomever the Patron selected as his choice for the best new Independent Australian Country Music performer each year. The criteria for selection was simply based on the strength of a recording judged by Mr Ifield to be of a high standard and indicating further potential as determined by him.
Later the focus centred on the potential global appeal of the recording, the artist's individual style and professionalism of performance both on and off the stage. This international appeal became critical, as a significant component of the award is the release to international airplay (particularly the UK & Europe) on Mr Ifield's recommendation and the further use of Mr Ifield's worldly expertise and experience to assist in promoting Australian talent overseas.
First known as the 'Frank Ifield Award'
1998: Colin Greatorix
1999: Melinda Schneider and Michael Carr
2000: Wayne Horsburgh - The once only special 'Millennium Award'
Name change to the
'Frank Ifield International Spur Award'
2001: Karen O'Shea
2002: Wayne Law
2003: Donna Boyd
2004: Graham G Toole
2005: Stacey Morris
2006: Travis Collins
2007: Karen Lynne
2008: Kirsty Lee Akers
2009: Nicki Gillis
2010: Johanna Hemara
2011: John Stephan
2012: Emma Hannah
2013: Stephanie Jansen
2014: Stuie French & Camille Te Nahu
2015: Donna Fisk
2016: Neilly Rich
2017: Troy Kemp
2019: Steve Passfield
Following the success of her 2009 win, Nicki Gillis has now toured the U.K. many times and also performed in Germany. Her singles have enjoyed long runs in UK country music radio charts and her self-written song 'Be a Star' reached #1 as did 'In The Daylight' co-written with producer Bob Howe.
Karen O'Shea, Wayne Law and Donna Boyd each have, as a result enjoyed significant success in the European radio play-list charts including top 10 hits. Donna Boyd's tour of the UK and Eire in 2004 was the most extensive schedule ever undertaken by an independent Australian artist and Wayne Law has toured Europe since his award.
Subject to a suitable recipient, Mr Ifield on behalf of the Rotary Club of Galston and Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club, presents this unique Award each year at Bob Howe's Canterbury Country show held on the second Thursday in March on the main stage at the Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club.
Sources & further information:
The Rotary Club of Galston - PO Box 103 Galston NSW 2159 -
The Frank Ifield International Spur Award 2009
FRANK IFIELD and RICHARD YOUNG (Galston Rotary) present the 2009 FRANK IFIELD INTERNATIONAL SPUR AWARD to NICKI GILLIS
(Photo by Terry Phillpot - Eyegraphics)
Thursday 12 March 2009:
NICKI GILLIS wins the 2009 Frank Ifield International 'Spur' Award. Sponsored by The Rotary Club of Galston in conjunction with the Galston Country Music Festival, this award is designed to give exposure to our most promising Australian talent overseas.
From Frank: "My announcement of this years winner of the 'International Spur Award' proved to be a very popular choice indeed. Such is the public acceptance and wide appreciation for the talent of Nicki Gillis. Nicki is a towering talent who has an abundance of charisma both on and off the stage.
Her song Watch The Wildflowers Grow has already impacted the overseas market having reached #8 in the UK and European Country Chart and this will be followed up by a UK tour this coming July. I know that Nicki will be a credit to Australian Country Music and will once more prove how worthy we are to strut the world stage."
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The Frank Ifield International Spur Award 2008
"KIRSTY LEE AKERS wins my 2008 International 'Spur' Award. Sponsored by The Rotary Club of Galston in conjunction with the Galston Country Music Festival, this award is designed to give exposure to our most promising Australian talent overseas.
The song I chose to promote her on over 800 radio stations throughout the UK & Europe is the title track of her debut album released by Compass Brothers called Little Things.
At the end of the first week of March it had made its debut appearance in the European Country Music Top 20 at #13 and reached #9 in the Independent Artists UK Radio chart; we expect even bigger things for her over the next few months."
Thursday 13th March, at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club,
Frank Ifield (right) presents his
2008 International Spur Award to Kirsty Lee Akers (centre)
along with Tony Page (left)
of The Rotary Club of Galston . Photo by Bob Howe of 'Canterbury Country'.
People have affectionately referred to Kirsty the 'Pocket Rocket' and at little more than 4'10" in high heels, she certainly is living proof of the adage 'good things come in small packages'. When first I saw this pretty young blonde from Kurri Kurri NSW, she was just seventeen years old performing at the Grand Final of the 2004 'Music & Arts Talent Search' (MATS) of which I am proudly the Patron. Not only was she a winner of the contest, but went on to take out my '2005 Patrons Choice Award'. Then she surprised us all by gaining an American Song Writers Award for her self-penned song Bashed Up, Beaten, Battered, Broken Heart.
However, the icing on the cake was when she became the winner of the coveted 'Toyota Star Maker Award' in January 2007 joining the ranks of previous outstanding Australian winners such as Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Beccy Cole and Travis Collins. Then in January 2008, she added another string to her bow by achieving a life-long ambition being crowned Best New Talent at the awards ceremony in Australia's country music capital -Tamworth and by winning her first Golden Guitar, Kirsty has claimed her place as one of Australian Country Music's brightest young stars.
Go Get 'em Kirsty! - Frank Ifield
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The Frank Ifield International Spur Award 2007
FRANK IFIELD and RICHARD YOUNG (chairman of the Galston Country Music Festival)
present the 2007 FRANK IFIELD INTERNATIONAL SPUR AWARD to KAREN LYNNE
It was standing-room-only at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club (Canterbury Country) in Sydney on March 8th when FRANK IFIELD announced that the winner of the 2007 FRANK IFIELD INTERNATIONAL SPUR AWARD was KAREN LYNNE. Frank, who presents the award each year in conjunction with The Galston Country Music Festival, told the audience that "...Karen Lynne is a breath of cool mountain air with a voice as clear as a bellbird. I admit to being an ardent admirer of her bluegrass music and her new CD 'Changes' is an excellent example of what she does best."
The award includes a release for international airplay and Frank had prearranged that the track 'Blue Mountain Rain' be distributed to coincide with the award presentation. He was delighted to surprise Karen with the news that the following day the track had entered a UK and European Chart at number 3 and was number 1 in the corresponding Independent Top Ten!
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The Frank Ifield International Spur Award 2006
FRANK IFIELD presents his 2006 INTERNATIONAL SPUR AWARD to TRAVIS COLLINS
It was a packed house at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club in Sydney on March 10th for a concert featuring previous winners of the FRANK IFIELD INTERNATIONAL SPUR AWARD. Stacey Morris, Wayne Law, Donna Boyd, Mike Carr and Wayne Horsburgh all paid tribute to Frank who presents the award each year in conjunction with The Galston Country Music Festival.
The highlight of the night was the presentation of the 2006 award which went to a stunned TRAVIS COLLINS. Although no stranger to awards and national recognition, Travis was delighted to learn that this award will ensure significant airplay and promotion in the U.K. and Europe for his music.
Frank Ifield said of his choice; "What the world of Country Music needs is a new direction to capture the imagination of a whole new generation. We have the answer in Travis Collins. When Travis hits the stage the world takes a breath, then within minutes the whole world erupts. This charismatic young man has all the pizzazz of youth, bursting with talent and I am convinced he will take Country Music forward in his own direction. His direction? The World!"
TONY PAGE (Galston Country Music Festival), TRAVIS COLLINS and FRANK IFIELD
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The Frank Ifield International Spur Award 2005
INTERNATIONAL SPUR AWARD was presented to a stunned and delighted
STACEY MORRIS during the monthly Canterbury Country show on Thursday 10th March at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club in Sydney.
Frank handed over the trophy (along with last year's winner
TOOLE, pictured with Stacey and Frank), which is given in conjunction with The Galston Country Music Festival, saying "...the first time I heard Stacey sing, it was listening to the album Borders and Boundaries. I was bowled sideways by the emotional quality of her voice." The award will see Stacey gain increased recognition overseas, as did former winners DONNA BOYD and WAYNE LAW, who have recently achieved chart and touring success in the UK and Europe.
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The Frank Ifield International Spur Award 2005
It was a gala night at Rooty Hill RSL Club in Sydney on March 18th when the
winner of the 2004 Frank Ifield International Spur Award was
announced. The award, which FRANK IFIELD presents in conjunction
Country Music Festival, is an encouragement award with a focus
on aspiring talent.
Frank explains, "...I first became aware of GRAHAM G
TOOLE at Bob Howe's Canterbury Country Show last year. He impressed
me as a highly professional performer with an excellent choice of
songs. This prompted me to ask him for copy of his CD and I was
surprised to find he had not released an album at the time. However,
he did give me a copy of six tracks he had recorded, produced by Rod
McCormack, with a view to completing an album sometime in the
future. After playing the songs, I became
more aware of Graham's overall talent which led to my making him the
choice for this year's 'International Spur Award'. As part of the
award, I released his song That's What Friends Are For in the
UK and Europe where it instantly entered their play-list chart at
number 20. Hopefully this
will inspire him to complete the album so we can enjoy more great
songs from this exceptional Australian talent."
The concert that night featured previous Spur award-winners WAYNE
LAW (2002), WAYNE HORSBURGH (2000 Millennium Achievement Award) and
last year's recipient DONNA BOYD and her band. Donna is about to
embark on a U.K. tour to follow up on her recent European chart
success where she reached Number 2 with Look Who's Talking