Nashville students on exchange for Tamworth Country Music Festival

JUMP FOR JOY: Hailey Lund, 18, Kate Sullivan, 18, Olivia Tirrill, 17, and Evie Witty, 18, are out from Nashville for the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Photo: Simon McCarthy
JUMP FOR JOY: Hailey Lund, 18, Kate Sullivan, 18, Olivia Tirrill, 17, and Evie Witty, 18, are out from Nashville for the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Photo: Simon McCarthy

THEY are our country music-loving counterparts on the other side of the world. 

Meet the city’s newest recruits – Kate Sullivan, Olivia Tirrill, Hailey Lund and Evie Witty – four high school students from Nashville, who are interning with Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) in the lead up to the Country Music Festival (TCMF).

The girls are in Australia’s country music capital on a three-week exchange as part of the Harpeth Hall Winterim Program. This year marks the third time Tamworth has played host, thanks to its Sister City relationship with Nashville.

HELPING HANDS: Olivia Tirrill, Hailey Lund, Kate Sullivan and Evie Witty, with Tamworth councillors Phil Betts and Jim Maxwell, and TRC business and community director John Sommerlad. Photo: Simon McCarthy

HELPING HANDS: Olivia Tirrill, Hailey Lund, Kate Sullivan and Evie Witty, with Tamworth councillors Phil Betts and Jim Maxwell, and TRC business and community director John Sommerlad. Photo: Simon McCarthy

Kate, a country music tragic and die-hard regular at Nashville’s County Music Festival, is excited to see how Tamworth’s equivalent fares.

“It’ll be good to experience something similar to ours,” she said.

“We don’t have a lot of buskers, so that’ll be different. We came here earlier so we got to experience a sleepier time before it gets really busy.”

TRC business and community director John Sommerlad said the girls were working closely with staff and venues to put the final touches on TCMF. 

“I think they’ll… appreciate the value of TCMF, which we say is the second-largest country music festival in the world behind Nashville, although there’s only goes for four days, ours goes for 10,” he said.

TRC is liaising with local schools interested in a reciprocal exchange, hoping it takes off within 12 months.