Tamworth Country Music Festival Postponed Due to COVID-19 Concerns

Organizers of the Tamworth Country Music Festival have announced that its 50th anniversary event will be postponed due to changes to COVID-19 security measures.

The 10-day event was scheduled to start next week on January 14.

This is the second year that the festival has been affected by COVID-19 after it was canceled last year.

Wests Group CEO Rod Laing, who runs several of Tamworth’s largest sites, was disappointed with the announcement.

“I was at the reception of the club when country music fans who were arriving early walked through the door. They had to break the news to them,” he said.

“They were just camped by the water, and I’m sure there will be a lot more disappointed people. There are also locals who can be relieved.

People dance to the Wolfe Brothers at the Bushfire Call concert at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2013.(PAA: Tracey Nearmy)

Mr Laing said that by coming out last year, he lost hundreds of thousands of dollars that he could never get back.

“It’s food, it’s marketing, it’s all gone, it’s turned,” he said.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride.

“You could say [the writing on the wall] was there yesterday, you could have said it was last year. It feels like there’s no help, but we’ve always been optimistic. “

Festival director Barry Harley said it was a tough decision to make.

Postponed to April

The New South Wales government has announced that certain restrictions will be reintroduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

These restrictions include new risk assessments by NSW Health on major events and a ban on singing and dancing in entertainment and hospitality venues.

However, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has said big events could take place as long as NSW does not deem the events to be high risk.

NSW recorded 38,625 cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths during the last reporting period.

Two men with guitars on stage.
Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey perform at the 42nd Tamworth Country Music Festival.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Organizers said that due to “so many uncertainties” the decision had to be made to postpone the festival until April.

The event will also run over a shorter period starting April 18.

“Given the current state of COVID transmission in our communities and the impact of new COVID security measures on our sites,” said Mr. Harley.

“Significant impact” for the community

Tamworth Regional Mayor Russell Webb said April was chosen to accommodate multiple groups.

“The ads had to buy perishable food, and most will last until April,” he said.

“It is also the school holidays, which will ease the bus services.”

The mayor said there would be a “significant” financial cost associated with the postponement of the festival.

“I don’t think there is a single person in this organization who is happy about it,” said Mr. Webb.

Man standing in front of press cameras
Tamworth Regional Mayor Russell Webb addressing the media.(ABC New England: Kemii Maguire)

At a press conference in Tamworth on Friday, Mr Webb spoke about the delay in his announcement.

“We are in a week, we are only a week from the opening of the festival, we learn today that we will have to have these plans approved by [NSW] Health, “he said.

“They would happen sometime in the next week. They would establish a set of conditions and guidelines that we had to follow. There wouldn’t be enough time if those guidelines were strict for us to comply.”


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Gerald R. Schneider