Open Letter from Americana Music Association of Australia's Paul Heggart: Honky Tonk Heaven

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'Honky Tonk Heaven' 'Honky Tonk Heaven'

Hank Williams, whiskey, broken hearts, cowboy boots, wild times.

Those are usually what comes to mind when 'honky tonk' is mentioned. 'Honky Tonk Heaven' aims to transport listeners to a classic honky tonk bar during Adelaide Fringe, where you'll learn the Texas two-step and dance the night away.

Here, Vice President of the Americana Music Association of Australia Paul Heggart pens an open letter about the event.

“Country music is often maligned, especially in Australia where people associate it with a whole lot of cliche hillbilly and redneck imagery. After two trips to the US in the past couple of years we decided that we wanted to bring a version of country music culture back to Adelaide that demonstrates how deep, rich and diverse the country music tradition and culture can be.

While in the US we went to a number of honky tonk bars in Austin, Texas then in Nashville, Tennessee. The Whitehorse in Austin particularly inspired the look and feel of what we are going for with 'Honky Tonk Heaven'. The lights are low, the aesthetic is sophisticated and contemporary and it attracts large numbers of punters from across a wide age range.

On Friday nights large numbers of people turn up to learn the Texas two-step dance while a band sets up. Once the lesson is over the music starts and people hit the dance floor. All kinds of whiskey are 'free-poured' by the bar staff and the famous Texas BBQ is never far away.

We have set out to create an authentic and contemporary Honky Tonk bar experience that may surprise a lot of country music sceptics. We have gathered together some of Adelaide's finest musicians who will be playing two sets of legendary honky tonk tunes, employed the services of Adelaide's premier swing dance studio, Swing Out Adelaide to teach the Texas two-step and some authentic southern food will also be on offer.

We are also dedicated to providing a diverse and safe atmosphere that is LGBTQI and female friendly. This will be an immersive and unique experience that hopefully will win a few hearts and provide the incredibly heart-warming and fun time that we had while in the US.”

'Honky Tonk Heaven' plays Grace Emily Hotel on 17 February and 2 March.


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