This was my first visit to the Tamworth Country Music Festival. A long way from Melbourne, we decided to fly to Sydney and hire a car from the airport, reducing the drive to quite an easy five hours. It only cost $124.00 AUD for four days hire for a mid sized car. Take note, when you are booking a car, you can sometimes get free upgrade offers via the airline you are flying with, we did, and received an SUV.
It was hot. Very hot. Temperatures ranged from 38 to 41 degrees celsius for the first two days, and dark clouds hung about the surrounding hills, threatening to let go, as the humidity rose.
We stayed just south of Tamworth at The Stockman’s Motel Kingswood. As we booked late, we were lucky to score a room at all. Tamworth and surrounds were solidly booked out. A last minute cancellation gave us a comfortable, clean, very large room with a microwave and verandahs offering protection from the heat. The mattress was not the best, but the comfort of the room and cool air conditioning sure made up for it.
We unpacked and hit the crowded streets. Eager to see what and who was a playing. There was no shortage of choice.
The variety was extroadinary. Buskers ranged from children on electric guitars, with parents and grand parents watchful from nearby hay bales, retired gentlemen strumming happily on battered guitars, attired in hats, jeans and checkered shirts, and many who were creating brilliant music. Some parts of Peel Street were a little overwhelming as amplifiers drowned out acoustic neighbours. Many a sour face was evident amongst those unhappy with the competition either side. There was good, and there was bad. There was brilliance, and there was tragedy.
I fell in love with the Mandolin during this week.
Friday night we attended the Toyota Star Makers Final. The park was packed with rows upon row of picnic chairs, and even when the rain set in to stay, no one left. A sea of umbrella’s merely opened up and the show continued. A tribute to the quality of the music.
With the rain, temperatures dropped slightly, giving some relief.
I highly recommend pizza at The Pig and Tinder – Peel Street.
Relaxed, plenty of seating, and a nice verandah to sit and watch whatever band is playing. Prices very reasonable.
Sometimes a glass of wine and a fresh pizza can be one of life’s great pleasures.
The streets have plenty of sculptures commemorating country music performers
One of the most photographed ‘Big Things’ in Australia is the Big Golden Guitar. A stream of people posed for photo’s, and i joined the queue! It’s big.
The souvenir shop behind the Golden Guitar has some historical information and a wax works museum. There is a charge for the museum. Lots of souvenirs available. I had to have the guitar earrings.
The premier event of every Tamworth Festival each year, is the Golden Guitar Awards, and we were treated to a great night of top talent at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre.
Guests included, Sam McClymont, Troy Cassar-Daley, Paul Kelly, Lee Kernigan, Beccy Cole, to name only a few. A spectacular finish to a great festival. The air-conditioning kept the venue very comfortable. Highly recommend it, and if you are lucky enough to score tickets to the after party, lots of people to have a drink, nibble and chat with afterwards. (Thank you Toyota)
On the way home, drop into Wallabadah General Store. They claim to have the best coffee outside of Italy. Lovely people. You can decide on the truth about the coffee for yourselves.