The Australian Institute of Country Music’s star pupil, Caitlyn Shadbolt, has the potential to help lead the Institute into the next phase of its development.
The Australian Institute of Country Music’s star pupil, Caitlyn Shadbolt, has the potential to help lead the Institute into the next phase of its development. Craig Warhurst

No shortage of tunes, just funds

FUNDING that supported several jobs at the Australian Institute of Country Music has run out, putting at least five people out of work.

And with no income being generated, the Institute's future will depend heavily on the AICM record label's signed artists Sista Burley, Caitlyn Shadbolt, and The Duke Wilde Band, as well as student participation and community use of the auditorium and recording studio.

Five traineeships, which come to an end in the next couple of weeks, were made available for one year through the Federal Government's Jobs Fund program.

“What we're aiming will take a lot of work over a longer period of time than just one year,” AICM director Doctor Geoff Walden said.

“We can't expect to operate on government handouts forever.”

AICM will continue to put everything its got behind the signed artists, even if it means Dr Walden has to do it for love alone.

Funding paid him a wage for the past year but he is back to volunteering his time due to the Institute's financial difficulties.

For AICM to reach its goals of generating an income and establishing a flourishing creative industry in Gympie, it will need the community to rally behind it, Dr Walden said.

He is back teaching part time at Gympie High School and privately by renting space at the Institute.

“The funding was always going to come to an end. We are on our own now,” he said.

“During the last year we've been trying to develop an income but it's a fairly big ask.

“Just the cost of running the Institute alone takes a big chunk of our budget.

"We are putting funding applications in where we can.”

People are saying Gympie is primed to produce the next Taylor Swift – well here she is.

Caitlyn Shadbolt has got the goods to turn the situation around for the AICM record label with big things planned for the country music starlet.

As the face of AICM, Miss Shadbolt not only makes country music cool, she helps redefine what country music is, Dr Geoff Walden said.

“AICM needs to be able to provide leadership in the Australian country music industry,” he said.

“In my opinion, we need to be the leaders in a new direction for country music and Caitlyn epitomises that.

"There is potential for her talent to be developed through the AICM label to support this goal.”

Miss Shadbolt said AICM meant the world to her, having given her many opportunities not normally available to a 15-year-old in Gympie.

“AICM has not only given me the opportunity to do what I love doing but also improved my skills,” she said.

“The Institute has also given my band Aiming High the opportunity to get out there and perform.”

By supporting Miss Shadbolt in pursuit of her dreams of making a living in the country music industry, AICM has won her loyalty.

“Hopefully in the near future I'll be recording my own songs ... At the moment I'm working on them and would like to record in AICM's recording studio,” she said.

Gympie Times


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