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Casey Barnes takes Town of a Million Dreams to towns across Queensland

Queensland country music artist Casey Barnes toured regional Queensland with his latest album as part of a push for live music during COVID restrictions



In early 2020 Gold Coast country rock artist Casey Barnes planned to release his album Town of a Million Dreams in April 2020, to be followed by an extensive national tour.  However, the onset of a global pandemic meant that the tour could not go ahead as planned.

Casey said, “At this point I had a choice.... push ahead with the album's release or do what many other artists decided to do and that was postpone everything for 2020 which in my opinion is a negative way to approach things.”

Casey made the decision to release Town of a Million Dreams on 17 April 2020. He was rewarded with his first ever ARIA number 1 on the Australian Country album charts. Two singles from the album hit number 1 on the Music Network's Hot 50 radio chart. 

“To put this into perspective I'm the only act in 2020 to have two consecutive radio number ones and that includes releases from international acts such as Keith Urban, Luke Combs, Tim McGraw etc. To top this off, I was also awarded 'Artist of The Year' at the 2020 Gold Coast Music Awards,” Casey said.

The success of the album influenced Casey’s decision to move ahead with a tour which, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and border closures, would be Queensland-only and focused on regional destinations. 

“We were in a situation where touring within Queensland was the only feasible option for the rest of 2020. Off the success of the new album and two singles my aim was to get out into a number of regional areas of the State who have been starved of any live music and inject some positivity plus the opportunity for those communities to enjoy live music in a COVID-safe way,” Casey said.

Casey made the decision to self-fund his tour, and received funding under Arts Queensland’s Creative to Go to help cover touring costs and to add additional Queensland tour venues.

The tour helped to inject life and positivity into these communities who were extremely grateful to have live music back again. It also helped employ local venues and their workers within the industry. Overall it’s been a huge success!



When and where

September to November 2020

Toowoomba, Cairns, Mareeba, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Mount Isa, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville


Key Stats

  • 13 concerts
  • 11 Queensland venues activated
  • 4 Queensland musicians directly employed


Arts Queensland investment

Casey Barnes received funding of $17,883 through Arts Queensland’s Creative to Go

Launched in 2020 in response to COVID-19, Creative to Go provided Queensland-based artists and arts organisations with support to deliver live performances and engagement activities in regional Queensland.   

Creative to Go is part of the Queensland Government's $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package to stabilise Queensland’s arts companies, secure employment for artists and arts workers and deliver COVID-safe cultural experiences for Queensland audiences.




  • Opportunity to tour a Queensland-based artist and engage new audiences
  • Supporting Queensland-based live music venues during COVID-19 restrictions
  • Support employment of venue staff, technical crew and artists
  • Deliver live performances and engagement activities in regional Queensland
  • Using art to drive community outcomes: The tour helped to inject life and positivity into regional communities who were extremely grateful to have live music back again.


Learnings and reflections

The impact of this grant was just incredible... put simply, without it we just would not have been able to get back out on the road and do any shows this year. 

It’s helped in so many ways by increasing new fan engagement/awareness, helping promote the current album and cover some of the critical costs to help us get out into regional communities.

We've had so many people come up to thanks us at shows... just because they're normally so starved of live music so it was a huge success. 

In some regions/locations because the demand for tickets was so high and COVID restrictions meant that we were only able to play to between 45-80 people (in some venues) we added on a second show to a number of venues which was quite successful Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Rockhampton,Bundaberg - we added a second show for all of these locations due to overwhelming demand. --Casey Barnes




The overwhelming feedback was gratitude from local QLD communities that often get overlooked by touring bands/musicians. They were extremely grateful that we made the effort to perform in their town and put a smile on some faces. It's also translated to a truck load of new fans that maybe mightn't have heard of me until our shows... so it’s been an overwhelming success! 

Also - to add to this all of the locations/venues want to get us back to perform again so it will help generate more work!


Tips for others

Living in such an uncertain time there was always the possibility that there may have been a spike in COVID cases and the tour would have had to be cancelled or postponed but thankfully it all went ahead 

My only frustration was the restriction on numbers in most of the venues. A lot of people missed out on coming to the shows because of this...and to make things even more frustrating, a week after the tour finished QLD venue restrictions eased and we could have played to double the audience capacity if we'd planned it for a later date... however nobody had a crystal ball so we were just thankful to get back out on the road and actually play to a live audience! 


What next

All venues where we performed are keen to have the band back and now restrictions have eased, we'll be able to go back into those communities and play to larger crowds. We've made a bunch of new fans and put smiles on faces after what's been a really tough year so I'm extremely grateful!


Find out more

Casey Barnes website 

Casey Barnes Instagram