Spruce-up squad get their hands on Smoky

The new statue of Smoky Dawson, one of the city’s most loved festival icons, was just one of plenty of tributes that have been given a touch up for the 2013 event.

Tamworth Regional Council technical officer Peter Bukowski was one of scores of city workers in the “spruce-up squad” cleaning up and putting things in order for the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Smoky’s statue in the middle of Peel St has suffered a touch of some foreign white spray – but he’s all okay and looking as good as new now.

He’s one of scores of country music statues, plaques, monuments and models that pay homage to the identities and idols of the country music industry dotted around the city that attract visitors and festival fans over the next 10 days.

Tamworth Regional Council has been mowing, spraying, watering and weeding for weeks on a rostered outdoors duty schedule to make camping areas, gateways and streets look their best. 

The heatwave, including last weekend’s 40-plus temperatures and record-breaking 42 degree heat, haven’t helped, but have hindered the work.

Council horticulture manager Brian Sheedy said more than 35 staff had begun the pre-festival work in November, including monitoring and lopping trees around camping areas but the extended heatwave and hot weather combined with no rain since January 1 had meant more work. 

“We’ve been praying for a bit of rain, not enough to worry our campers, but just enough to keep things alive and growing,” Mr Sheedy said.

“Without the rain, we’ve had to down tools and whack some water on trees and gardens, so that’s slowed the pace a bit. But we’re getting there and it’s looking pretty good.”

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