Meet John Butler

Music festival offers ultimate fan experience 

Want to get ‘Funky Tonight’ with John Butler?  

Some would say there’s no ‘Betterman’. 

The Airlie Beach Festival of Music is offering one lucky fan the chance to meet their idol backstage on November 10.  

Anyone who buys a three-day pass from September 19 until October 8 will go into a draw to meet the king of Australian blues and roots, have a professional photograph taken and receive signed merchandise.  

Festival founder, Gavin Butlin, said this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he was pleased to be able to facilitate. 

“We ran a couple of meet-and-greets in 2018 with Marcia Hines and Ella Hooper, and they were so successful we knew this was a tradition we had to continue,” he said.  

“Being at the Airlie Beach Festival of Music is already an experience like no other, but to cap it off with the chance to meet a musician of John Butler’s calibre is as good as it gets.” 

Like many of the emerging musicians the Airlie Beach Festival of Music supports, Butler’s musical journey began with a gradual progression from busking to playing in bars and clubs.  

He went on to establish his own label, Jarrah Records and form the John Butler Trio with Jason McGann on drums and Gavin Shoesmith on bass.  

Fast forward to today and Butler is one of Australia’s most successful independent musicians, founder of charitable arts and music organisation, the Seed, and a keen environmental campaigner.  

In 2018, and outside of the Trio, he released his seventh studio album ‘Home’.  

“Throughout the years that it took to make this album, there were tears and frustration, confusion and chaos; but there was also family and friends, honesty and vulnerability, gardens and harvest, service and surrender, and in amongst it all, ultimately there was joy,” Butler says.  

Having never played the Whitsundays before, Butler describes himself as an “Airlie Virgin” but says he’s looking forward to seeing what the vibe is like and connecting with a community on the Great Barrier Reef. 

He’s also promising as much energy from his solo performance as the Trio combined.  

“I think the solo set gives fans a deeper look into where the songs and sounds come from and an intimacy and immediacy that the Trio show doesn’t necessarily have,” he said.  

Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Tash Wheeler, said the meet and greet opportunity was the perfect fit for the boutique festival in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.  

“There is a huge buzz around town in the lead up to the Airlie Beach Festival of Music and having the opportunity to meet one of Australia’s most iconic musicians I’m sure will only add to the excitement and encourage more ticket sales,” she said.  

Other artists joining John Butler on the 2019 festival line-up include John Williamson, Smokie, the Australian Rock Collective, Yothu Yindi, the Superjesus, Mahalia Barnes, Bon But Not Forgotten, Bob ‘Bongo’ Starkie’s Skyhooks with special guest Racey, and the Airlie Beach ‘All Stars’, consisting of Nicky Bomba, Bustamento, Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde.  

Tickets to the festival are on sale via OzTix, BigTix, Whitsunday Tickets, The MECC, Tourism Whitsundays, and direct from  

The meet and greet draw applies only to purchases of three day passes.  

Terms and conditions apply and are available to view on the festival’s website.  

For more information, follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.