Tamworth Country Music Festival: Wikis


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The Tamworth Country Music Festival
Location(s) Tamworth, Manilla, Kootingal Australia Australia
Years active 1972 - Current
Date(s) Friday 16 - Saturday 26 January 2009
Genre Country music, Bluegrass, Rock, Western swing, World music, Folk
Website http://www.tcmf.com.au/

The Tamworth Country Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia and is a celebration of Australian country music culture and heritage. The festival lasts for two weeks during late January and during this period the city of Tamworth comes alive, with visitors from all across the country and worldwide who come to join in the festivities. The festival has many times been counted among the world's top ten music festivals. In 2007 Forbes rated it as number 8 of the World's Coolest Music Festivals[1 ]. The enormous number of visitors during the bash doubles the city's population and brings significant economic benefits to the region. Visitor numbers for the 2007 festival were estimated at 50,000.

The mass number of visitors means that accommodation throughout the area is consistently booked out for this period up to 12 months in advance, with many visitors camping in caravans and tents by the cities riverside. The festival is the second biggest country music festival in the world. A significant degree of national media coverage is given to the festival with all television networks showing the festival in the news. The commercial television stations Channel Seven, Ten and Nine have all broadcast shows and segments from the festival.



When the Tamworth Country Music Festival commenced is often debated. In 1968 the now non-existent Tamworth branch of the Modern Country Music Association began a talent quest on the Australia Day January Long weekend. The talent quest now known as Capital Country Music Association Talent Quest was the foundation to the festival.

However the Country Music Association of Australia state the festival began in 1973, when 2TM radio hosted the first Country Music Awards Golden Guitars (as part of their Country Music Capital promotion which had commenced in the late 1960s). The festival expanded to many other events, with events running back throughout the entire week before the Awards. These events included Bluegrass Championships, Hands of Fame, The Roll of Renown, The Rodeo, The Buttercup Open House concert, The Mr Juicy Concerts, busking in Peel Street, The Cavalcade, industry seminars among other events. These events were promoted to highlight Australian Country music and to draw attention to the climax of the ten days which was the Country Music Awards.

The Country Music Association of Australia Awards were moved to the Saturday in the last full weekend in January as the Australia day public holiday was moved to float with the 26 January date.


Kasey Chambers performing in Tamworth


Since the festival's original commencement the following music genres have been performed: Classic country, Bluegrass, Country rock, Folk, Urban country, Alternative country, Cowpunk, Twistabilly, Rockabilly, Western swing, Country rock'n'roll, Yodelling, Rock, Blues and World music. The festival has diversified in styles of country as the genre country music itself has broadened, additionally other styles of music are played at the festival.

Awards and Talent Quests

The CMAA's awards night ceremony is called the Country Music Awards of Australia in which winning artists are presented with Golden Guitars trophies that are miniature replicas of the Golden Guitar statue. These awards are highly coveted in the Australian country music industry.

The Peoples Choice Awards is a rapidly growing award ceremony which has now expanded to include Best DJ and Best Radio Station. This award ceremony uses a populist voting method which allows for fan involvement. As a result, this award is rapidly becoming the preferred barometer for a bands success.

Other awards and talents quests include:

  • Telstra Road to Tamworth
  • Toyota Starmaker
  • Tamworth Independent Artist Recognition Awards
  • No Holds Barred Fiddle Contest
  • Telstra Queen of Country Music Quest
  • Bundaberg Rum Jazzer Quest
  • Kids Talent Quest
  • Country Entertainer of the Year
John Butler Busking in Peel St during 2007 festival

Main street - Peel St

During the music festival the main shopping street (Peel Street) is restricted to pedestrians only. In this area, Buskers are required to register with the local council. There is also a competition between these registered buskers to find the festivals best busker. There has been complaint and controversy about the use of very loud PA systems against acoustic performances. Council officers are known to walk the street with decibel meters during performances. Since January is a summer month with daytime temperatures regularly hovering around 38°C, it is during the nighttime that the city really comes to life, with people heading down town to drink, dance and generally party while numerous bands play up and down the main street. Country Music Parade[1]


During the festival over 2500 acts use up to 120 venues.[2] The largest venue used is the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre which has a capacity of 5100 people.[3]

The Festival Countdown

The Festival countdown is the 'pre-festival' festival. During this week before the festival many country music fans come to Tamworth to set up camp and enjoy the town, while there is also concerts scheduled during this week.


The Big Golden Guitar is a key attraction during the festival.

Besides the music the festival has many other attractions for visitors these include the Big Golden Guitar, the country music wax museum and the hands of fame park of successful country music artists. Additionally fine artists, crafts, street performers and markets attract large crowds in Peel St.

The Country Music Cavalcade on the last Saturday of the festival attracts large crowds to Peel St, with many businesses and musicians participating with floats in the parade.


During the build up prior to the commencement of celebrations, the Tamworth Regional Council takes steps to beautify and secure the city, performing such works as:

  • Erecting signs to direct traffic away from hot spots, and reduce congestion.
  • Pre-Festival advertising campaigns.
  • Extensive road maintenance.
  • Blocking traffic from four blocks of Peel Street, the central shopping district.
  • Co-ordinating and tidying the expansive camping grounds.
  • Co-ordinating with the CMAA (County Music Association of Australia) in connection with events.
  • Co-ordination with law enforcement and security bodies.

Artist lineups

The Tamworth Country Music Festival each year attracts many country music, bluegrass, rock and folk musicians to the city. Performers perform at various different venues in the city. The festival attracts over 800 different artists which perform over 5000 shows.[4 ]. Artists who perform regularly at the festival include Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan, John Williamson, The Lees and Colin Buchanan. The late Slim Dusty was also a regular. The festival is noted for being the launching platform of Keith Urban and Kasey Chambers' careers.

Tamworth Country Music Festival 2007

Many hundreds of musicians played at the 2007 festival at clubs, pubs and in Peel St, busking. Some of the better known artists that performed at the 2007 festival included:

Tamworth Country Music Festival 2008

The 2008 Tamworth Country Music festival officially commenced on Friday 18 January and closed on Sunday 27 January. However the pre-festival countdown events started on Monday 14 January.

The 36th Country Music Awards winners were announced with a wonderful night of music and celebration including Troy Cassar-Daley's spine tingling performance with the Capital Country Music Association Choir and the all star Spirit of the Bush closing number [5] and a show-stopping duet performance between Gina Jeffreys and Guy Sebastian [6]

See also


  1. ^ "Forbes Traveler - World's Coolest Music Festivals". Forbes. http://www.forbestraveler.com/2007/07/07072501_slide_8.html?thisSpeed=undefined. Retrieved 7 September 2007.  
  2. ^ "Tourism Home". Tamworth Regional Council. http://www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=26768. Retrieved 27 December 2007.  
  3. ^ "Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre (TREC)". Tamworth Regional Council. http://www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=19076. Retrieved 27 November 2007.  
  4. ^ "Tamworth Regional Council Home Page". Tamworth Regional Council. http://www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=18699&cid=23325&sort=d&year=2007&month=8&id=2080. Retrieved 3 September 2007.  
  5. ^ Australian Stage
  6. ^ Myspace video

External links

Coordinates: 31°05′S 150°55′E / 31.083°S 150.917°E / -31.083; 150.917


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