Tamworth Country Music Festival
Tamworth Country Music Festival takes place in Tamworth, New South Wales
Tamworth Country Music Festival 2012 dates – 20th to 29th January
The History of Tamworth Country Music Festival
Tamworth Country Music Festival is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world and the City of Tamworth has cemented its reputation as Australia’s Country Music Capital.
But the festival’s beginnings were quite humble. Originally it was held over the three-day Australia Day long weekend, in 2011 it will run for 10 days starting on Friday, 14 January 2011.
In 2002, Tamworth Regional Council and Tourism Tamworth Ltd added a ‘countdown’ period that runs the full week prior to the festival to add to the January country music experience.
When country and western music was booming across Australia in the 1940s and ’50s, Tamworth like most other country towns had a radio station with a long tradition of playing ‘hillbilly’ music in the early hours of the morning.
In 1966 the then Tamworth Branch of the Modern Country Music Club of Queensland decided to form their own association and the Capitol Country Music Association was incorporated later in that year. The original “get together” held on the long weekend in January 1965, became the National Jamboree in 1967 (incorporating a small Talent Quest). 2010 will see the 43rd consecutive Annual Jamboree and Talent Quest. This is the longest running consecutive Jamboree held by any Country Music Association in Australia.
In 1973 local radio station 2TM, staged the first Australiasian Country Music Awards of Australia.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival was deliberately created by the management of Radio 2TM to create a major country music event in Tamworth that would support the country music awards.
The ambition was to grow the event into a 10-day festival which culminated with the celebration of industry achievements in the Country Music Awards of Australia.
The awards enabled the event to grow on a stable foundation with organisers, businesses, hotels and community groups starting to plan and create events within the festival, and the event grew.
2TM-BAL Marketing coordinated the event until handing it over to the Tamworth City Council in 1994.
Today, Tamworth Regional Council provides the infrastructure and resources to cater for the tens of thousands of visitors who enjoy the Festival.
Tourism Tamworth Ltd is responsible for the marketing and promotion of the festival which is the biggest of the type in the southern hemisphere.
The 2011 Jayco Tamworth Country Music Festival (as it is officially known), now acknowledged to be one of the top 10 music festivals in the world, is unique in Australia, and probably around the globe.
The majority of festival-goers (76 per cent) stay in the region for 6 to 10 nights or more than 10 nights.
The number of operators and venues involved in the festival seems to expand each year and the month of January provides a necessary and welcomed boost to the local economy. Every pub, club, restaurant, hall and street corner in the Country Music Capital features some form of live country music through the festival period. Visitors contribute about $50 million to the local economy each year.
From the strong foundations laid in the 1970s and early ’80s, the awards and festival have evolved and developed in many ways. The event is a rare example of a commercially-based festival, that basically runs itself through the involvement of a handful of major stakeholders, entrepreneurs, many smaller operators and community-based groups. It is financially self-supporting through ticket sales and strong sponsorship.
The event does not belong to one entity, its custodian is a group of stakeholders including Tamworth Regional Council but it requires the cooperation and collaboration of all businesses to ensure its success.
In 2008, the festival announced a partnership with Events NSW. The partnership brings together the major stakeholders Tamworth Regional Council, Tourism Tamworth Ltd and the Country Music Association of Australia under one umbrella, the group will work together on the strategic development and growth of the festival and the Country Music Awards of Australia.
Whilst the newly formed partnership will assist develop and evolve the iconic event into the future, it also recognises the contributions, dedication and support given by the organisations, companies, artists, industry and individuals that built and cemented the Festival and the Awards place on the international stage today.