ARIA award-winning Australian artist Amy Shark will headline a free concert in support of the bushfire affected NSW south coast region as part of the NRL's three-day festival of footy on the Sapphire Coast.
The NRL today announced the February 29 concert - also including rising country music star Brad Cox - will conclude the three-day event which aims to bring visitors back to the region; honour the tireless firefighters and volunteers; and lift community spirits.
The concert will be staged on the cricket ground adjacent to the Bega Recreation Ground, following the "Battle of the West" trial match between the Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels which was relocated from Penrith to Bega.
Internationally renowned Shark, a self-confessed rugby league fan, said she was honoured to be part of such an important event to help the southern coast area of NSW get back on its feet.
"I love this game and understand the positive difference it can make to regional communities," she said.
"This concert is an opportunity to bring people together and provide a sense of hope and optimism - something which is so important during these tough times. I encourage everyone from far and wide to come down and be a part of this event. We all have a role to play."
Brad Cox, who hails from Jindabyne in the NSW Snowy Mountains, thanked the NRL for its commitment to helping the towns and people affected by the summer of fires.
"I'm delighted to be part of this event and play a role in helping to support these communities where I spent much of my childhood who have suffered so much," Cox said.
NRL chief executive officer Todd Greenberg said the concert would be a fitting way to end the sport's three-day festival to honour and celebrate the NSW southern coast.
"We've said from the beginning that this is more than a game - it's a festival of footy to showcase the NSW South Coast is open for business and what better way to end it than a concert which unites locals and visitors," he said.
Mr Greenberg thanked Sony Music Entertainment for their assistance in bringing the concert to life.
"We couldn't have done this without the help of Sony Music Entertainment who have donated such extraordinary talent to this important cause - it is yet another example of Australian business and sporting organisations working together to support regional communities in need."
The three-day festival will also see players from both Panthers and Eels embedded in the region as part of the game's overarching Road to Regions program. The community initiative involves player visits to the small towns ravaged by bushfire, providing help in communities and doing what they can to help the locals get back in the game.
Tickets for the trial game, and the curtain raiser matches - the Andrew Johns Cup and the Laurie Daley Cup which have relocated from Wollongong in support of the region - will be available for $10 through Ticketek from Monday 10 February.
Free tickets will be available to Sapphire Coast locals who have registered at a Bushfire Recovery Centre since October.
All profits from ticket sales and donations made through Ticketek will go to The Salvation Army's Rural Assistance Appeal which helps rural communities and individuals who've been affected by the drought and bushfires.
The Bega event forms part of rugby league's coordinated whole of game response to the bushfire emergency. The NRL, NSWRL, QRL and RLPA have joined together to assist communities impacted by the fires.
"I'm so proud of our players, clubs and organisations. Working together we can really make a tangible difference in these communities," Mr Greenberg said.