It’s hard to believe, but 2022 marks 50 years since the inception of the world renowned Tamworth Country Music Festival. To celebrate such a monumental milestone, we decided to revisit this beloved annual event.
Close your eyes for a moment and think back to your own memories of the Tamworth Country Music Festival. If you’ve ever been there you probably remember some of the best gigging experiences you’ve had, if not you might remember the time spent hearing about some of the greatest musicians. icons of the country and how their performances at the festival are among the best and most important of their careers.
But how did it all start? How did the Tamworth Country Music Festival become the second largest country music festival in the world? Well, to answer that question, you have to go back to the late 60s, when the Tamworth branch of the Modern Country Music Association launched a talent quest that would soon evolve into the festival we know today.
With radio station 2TM launching the Australasian Country Music Awards in January 1973, things got off to a good start, with Joy McKean receiving the Golden Guitar Award for writing the Slim Dusty song, “Lights On The Hill”.
From there, the Gold Guitar Award quickly became a integral part of the annual country music festival, showcasing the best and the brightest the genre has to offer. Even if you haven’t always been a fan of country music, chances are knowledge of the Golden Guitar Awards precedes things, with more than 500 of the titular trophies handed out over the years. In fact, local country icon Slim Dusty has been the award’s most prolific winner, receiving 38 trophies in total during his career.
Find out how Tamworth Country Music Festival has changed
“For more than 30 years, the Golden Guitar Awards have captured the imagination of millions of Australians, forming the basis of the famous Tamworth Festival and inspiring generations of country music artists and their fans,” explained the founder of the Max Ellis festival.
But the Golden Guitar Awards aren’t the entirety of the festival, with countless stellar performers performing in front of hundreds of thousands of punters throughout the festival’s five-decade history. As well as helping to put the town of Tamworth on the world map every year, it’s become something of a rite of passage for budding country artists who want to perform there.
Whether they are on the bill themselves or simply come to play, share music or make themselves known, it has become a breeding ground for local and international talent and success. After all, could you imagine that names such as Gina Jefferys, Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan, Adam Harvey or Beccy Cole didn’t have the kind of ubiquitous musical star that they have now? Without the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the fact is that we might never have seemed to them to become iconic local artists.
Unfortunately, the festival’s nearly unstoppable run has been delayed (albeit briefly) into 2021 thanks to COVID. Although they were able to hold the full festival in 2020, the year the outbreak began, it was the 2021 event that was not so lucky. Scale down the event for the first time in its history, with a smaller audience for the Golden Guitar Awards and a greater focus on delivering the awards online.
Now, having postponed their 50th anniversary celebrations to April 2022 to ensure they receive their full membership fee, the Tamworth Country Music Festival is back in full force. Not only do they give attendees the chance to be part of ongoing history by unveiling a bronze statue of the festival pillar John Williamson, but this year’s Golden Guitar Awards will see Troy Cassar Daley enter the record books.
Set to receive the Golden Guitar Award for Australia’s best-selling country music album of 2021, Cassar-Daley will equal Slim Dusty and Lee Kerneghan’s record of 38 golden guitars, and further cement his status as a music icon. country music.
But that’s not all, in addition to giving attendees the chance to witness local country music history with these events, the festival also unveiled a a truly monumental range country fans won’t want to miss.
Along with icons such as Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Ian Moss and James Blundell, fans will also get to see Fanny Lumsden, Busby Marou, Darlinghurst and countless others.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival may have a 50 year history behind it but really they are just getting started and they want you to be a part of it. Check out all the details of this year’s festivities below.
Tamworth Country Music Festival 2022
4 road bandits
Adam Eckersley and Brook McClymont
Adam Eckersley Band
Carter & Carter
Kirsty Lee Akers
The Viper Creek Band
The Wolfe Brothers
Troy Cassar Daley
Monday 18 April 2022 – Sunday 24 April 2022
Tamworth, New South Wales
Tickets: Tamworth Country Music Festival