TAMWORTH Country Music Festival organisers have been dealt a bitter blow amid news a major talent search will not hold its grand final at next year’s event.
The Telstra Road to Discovery, formerly known as the Telstra Road to Tamworth, grand final will be held in Melbourne, after being held in Tamworth since 2004.
A Telstra spokeswoman said while Telstra continued to be a sponsor of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, a special opportunity meant the grand final had to be held in November.
“This year we’ve had a unique opportunity afforded to us. Through the Telstra Thanks program, we’re partnering with Bon Jovi,” she said.
The winners will go on the Because We Can Bon Jovi tour, which is in December, so the grand final has to run in November.
“This will allow the performers to reach out to a broader, untapped audience,” she said.
“It’s a money-can’t-buy experience. We couldn’t pass that up for the performers.”
The spokeswoman said Telstra had already flagged this with those involved.
“We will continue to be a supporter of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, as we have been for 10 years,” she said.
“We will be returning in 2014 with a Telstra Road to Discovery showcase performance with all finalists for a very special event, in addition to other activities.”
The spokeswoman would not confirm whether the grand final for the 2014 competition would return to Tamworth in January 2015, saying organisers were concentrating on this year’s event at this point.
“We’re very, very committed to the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Telstra still plays an integral role in the festival,” she said.
“At this stage, we’ll be working through what the next step is for the following year.”