Lashings of Talent

Melbourne sisters take out national Passport to Airlie competition.

When Sheridan and Lauren Harvey set off from Melbourne to Airlie Beach, little did they know they were on their way to becoming national winners.

The 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.

Although the girls had already supported the likes of Thirsty Merc, Darryl Braithwaite and Shannon Noll, they never expected to represent the Victorian capital, let alone claim a national win.

Lash 78

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 ~ Lash 78

“We couldn’t have asked for a better audience or better places to perform.”

Buskers by the Creek organiser, Cindy Jensen, who was one of the Passport to Airlie judges, said Lash 78 was her pick of the competition from the minute she saw them.

“Their song-writing ability, marketability, musicianship and personality all contribute to the full package,” she said.

Their stage presence is beyond their years and the connection they have being sisters is special.

Cindy Jensen ~ Buskers by the Creek

Lash 78 were announced the national winners on the main stage at the Whitsunday Sailing Club after John Butler’s performance on Sunday afternoon.

“When we realised what was happening 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.”

Melbourne musician, Passport to Airlie host and Anthem Touring & Entertainment Director, Rav Thomas, said he was thrilled for the girls but not necessarily surprised.

Making it in the original music scene is the hardest thing in the world to do so we’re excited for anyone who can get a leg up, but I already knew how good they were and how hard they work.

Rav Thomas ~ Passport to Airlie Host

Passport to Airlie co-ordinator, Cherrie Hughes, said the talent among all the finalists was phenomenal.

“I felt like a proud parent watching them – I couldn’t have been happier – but apart from that there was some awesome music,” she said.

Festival founder, Gavin Butlin, congratulated everyone involved in the competition, which has become Australia’s largest live, original music movement.

Cherrie Hughes Photography

“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,” he said.

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 Harvey ~ Lash 78

Tickets to the 2020 Airlie Beach Festival of Music are already on sale via at the special, early bird rate of $250 per three-day pass.

For more information on Lash 78 visit