Festival has struck the right chord

AFTER more than a decade dogged by woes, the Tamworth Country Music Festival appears to have turned a significant corner.

Organisers of the 2014 festival have finally struck the right chord, according to the majority of attendees at Monday night’s public wash-up.

Perennial bugbears – busking and artist accommodation – once again came to the fore, but it was generally agreed busking standards were high, with decibel levels the major concern.

Veteran singer-songwriter Bruce McCumstie praised the debrief, but was disappointed with the turnout, which was down on previous years.

“It was just lovely, there was no agro and no questions went unanswered,” the Nundle local said.

“There was a lot of constructive questions and a lot of positive feedback.

“Many people spoke about the vibe and being happy for the first time in 10 years – about the festival being reborn.”

However, Mr McCumstie, who has been to every festival bar two, warned organisers they needed to stem price gouging for the sake of the festival’s future.

“The caravan parks all doubled their prices this year for sites, which was a big shock to a lot of artists who have been coming in their caravans for 30 years,” he said.

“The general comment I get from artists that go to other festivals is ‘we come every year but just can’t afford to anymore’.”

Festival director Gavin Flanagan, who along with Tamworth Regional mayor Col Murray and director of events John Sommerlad made up the post-event discussion panel, said council carefully considered all feedback.

He said this would include an investigation into the suggestion of an “adopt an artist” scheme similar to billeting, in a bid to keep singers and musicians’ costs down.

“Our job is to make sure people leave the festival satisfied and I think we touched on the right formula this year,” Mr Flanagan said.

“Whether we can do that each year, we’ll that’s our challenge.”

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