Review and photos by Nat Wyborn
Every January the town and people of Tamworth unite to host Australia’s biggest music festival The Tamworth Country Music Festival or the TCMF as it is most commonly known to its patrons runs for 10 days. Now in its 44th year the festival does not look like slowing down.
As for size, Tamworth doubles. From babes in arms to the grey nomad’s, seasoned veterans and first timers, Tamworth has something for everyone. Walking down the hub of the festival, better known as Peel Street every single person you see has a smile on their dial and a spring in their step. A beer at a pub or a chat on the street and everyone can tell you different stories of their festival.
Having attended the festival on many occasions, this time I took a very different approach. By looking at it through the eyes of a first timer, and more importantly not a hard core country lover, I was seeking to find what was on offer for this type of profile.
Your festival can be whatever you want it to be. A vast range of accommodation can be found right up to the week of the festival. But I recommend you book months in advance to get the best there is to offer. Your festival really is as flexible as you want it to be.
So what about the music? Sure, you can see golden guitars and all of countries stars and pay for the privilege. You can also settle down in a pub, a club or even the park and enjoy some of the best for free. At any given moment you can see rock, roots blues and honky tonk until the early hours of the morning. The TCMF committee tries to accommodate everyone. From family oriented concerts in the park through the day and night firework displays to mark the start and the finish of the festival. This year despite rain and even a cold snap they hit the mark on every occasion.
As for transport, well how about a flat rate charge of $25 (for the whole 10 days). This allows unlimited bus rides to all venues. At the bus terminal there are friendly locals to help you out with what ride to jump on, or how about catching a ride on a trike pushy. One of the 15 trikes can peddle you to your next venue for a small price this certainly beats the heat.
When it comes to the country music capital you might well ask what the attraction is? What brings people to Tamworth from all over the world? Well I think it’s simple, country music has soul and roots! It brings peace; it brings reflection and many fun times. Gone is the broad stroke label of country and western complete with hats and horses. In Tamworth this is replaced with everything from pop to country rock, you certainly cannot put country in a box. If you are a lover of music you are certain to find something playing over the festival to your liking. For me a walk outside the square led me to blues rock, and even comedy.
After 10 days if you ask me what’s the festival about? Well that’s simple it’s about catching up with mates from all over the country, having a beverage or two with some amazing talented artists and taking time out from the rat race we call life. See you in 2017.