The countdown is officially on for Tamworth’s Country Music Festival 2024, and we all have our favourites we are looking forward to (P.S. it’s not always all about the music).
Whether it is the free shows of uncharted talent and country music champions in Toyota Park, the wet T-shirt competition at the Oasis Hotel, sipping cocktails and sculling beers on the deck at the Longyard Hotel, or the ever-popular rodeo watching our local cowboys go head-to-head with bulls and brumbies while the ladies dance their horse around barrels, there is nothing these next few weeks won’t deliver for our region.
And for our country music stars, this festival can launch careers.
One year you’re watching Hurricane Fall in the free slots, a few years down the track, and its paid shows only.
“It is shaping up to be another wonderful country music festival kicking off on the 19th with the opening concert in Toyota Park, right through to Sunday the 28th which will encompass the brand new, starting first time, buskers and through to the accolade of receiving a Golden Guitar.” said Barry Harley, Country Music Manager for Tamworth Regional Council.
“We have over 700 artists engaged in the Country Music Festival across 80 venues with more than 1800 scheduled events across the ten days.”
“It is truly unique, and anyone who is anyone will be in Tamworth.”
Accommodation continues to be one of the biggest challenges for visitors to Tamworth, with motels and camping locations selling out well in advance and overpriced private rentals popping up for those desperate enough for a bed.
Both a testament to the city’s festival reach, and a lost opportunity.
“The growth of the festival could be exponential, but we do not have numbers of accommodation in the city,” said Barry.
“We are pretty much fully booked- caravan parks and motels, and the temporary campsite we open has more campers in it than it normally would at this time of year,”
“All signs are looking to a very good festival for 2024.”
History shows visitors aren’t deterred by weather, and this year could see those summer storms and flooded campgrounds us locals take all too much pride in watching as the gumboots begin selling out across the stores.
“With a ten-day event and outdoor activities there is bound to be some weather events, but over the 52 years we know festival goers expect that and take that is their stride.” said Barry.
Meanwhile, venues are ready. For Wests Entertainment Group all signs point to pre-Covid redemption, and they have the schedule to make it happen.
“It’s an exciting time of year and that is reflected in in the program we have put on for the Country Music festival 2024.” Paddy Donnelly, Chief Communications Officer for Wests Entertainment Group.
“We have a full round of entertainment and early ticket indications are strong showing there are plenty of people coming to Tamworth showing everything is getting right back to normal.”
“We will always have our high standard performers with Beccy Cole, she has two shows, and Adam Harvey and Amber Lawrence will be here as well.”
And Wests have thrown their hat in the ring for late night entertainment of choice, extending their hours and music genre.
“We will mix our themes up again this year, and we will have Coyote Ugly at Digger which is late night fun,” said Paddy.
“And on the last Saturday we have an international DJ, Regard, upstairs which will go late night which is out of the norm for us.”
Organisers are urging festive goers to grab your tickets early and avoid disappointment.
“We are all geared up for a couple of weeks and we look forward to having plenty of fun.” said Paddy.
Music: Something for Everyone
Age is no barrier when it comes to musical choice, with country music evolving to the new age while old time rock’n’roll still holds a place at every festival.
“The venues will put on the entertainment that is best for their venues, so as a result, we cover just about every sub-genre of country music, but also non-country music with the likes of Kate Soprano and Screaming Jets, a number of old rock’n’rollers also find a place at the festival,” said Barry.
“So, what we can boast with pride, whatever you like in music, particularly country music, you will find it somewhere, just take a walk.”
“This is your opportunity to come and experience the most unique festivals in the world with more to offer than you would ever get to see, and it should be on everyone’s bucket list.”
January Date to Stay
After pushing the festival back to April in 2022 there has been chatter of moving the date, but organiser’s say January is here to stay.
“The January dates suit the festival better because the Golden Guitars presentation, which is a cornerstone of the festival, celebrates the preceding year’s excellence, and the January slot is best for that,” said Barry.
“It also signals the start of a new year, and all of the artists plan their agendas following Tamworth’s Festival.”
But while the traditional Country Music Festival will always be held in January, organiser’s have teased more could be on the way.
“That does not preclude that something else isn’t in the wings to something later in the year, perhaps in April.”
For those who don’t love the country music festival, an escape we can provide you.
Calala Tavern, on the outskirts of town, continues to boast itself as Tamworth not-so-country music pub of choice, ready to dish up good food and company, minus anything country music.
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