Entertainment Music COVID silences Tamworth Country Music Festival, after council suspends support

COVID silences Tamworth Country Music Festival, after council suspends support

Attendees get in the spirit at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January. Photo: AAP
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Australia’s famous Tamworth Country Music Festival will not be held in 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns.

NSW’s Tamworth Regional Council on Tuesday voted to suspend all the events it oversees as part of the festival, including street stages, busking and the cavalcade.

Public health orders including the prohibition of music festivals and mass gatherings, plus travel restrictions, had cast doubt over the January event.

Without council support, major venues couldn’t viably proceed, festival manager Barry Harley told AAP.

“We have remained as optimistic as we could and continued with our planning in the hope that conditions would ease,” he said.

“Unfortunately, like so many others in our situation, we have had to surrender to the challenges COVID has placed on us and make the difficult decision to suspend.”

While the festival will not go ahead, the associated Golden Guitar Awards will still be held virtually.

“That will include some live components, plus pre-recorded content, but it won’t be of the magnitude of the usual awards,” Harley said.

The festival, which in recent years has boasted more than 700 artists across nine days at 80 venues, started in 1973 with about five events.

In 2021 it was due to mark its 49th continuous year.