EVEN if you hate it, you can’t deny the value of the Tamworth Country Music Festival to the region.
Not only does the 10-day festival, which kicks off next Friday, bring in major dollars for the Tamworth economy across the retail, hospitality and accommodation sectors, but it’s also a shot in the arm for the wider region.
Locals often lament over the busy festival period because there’s increased traffic on the road, longer lines in shops, and prices can skyrocket. But the flow-on effect of an extra 50,000 bodies in the city can’t be ignored.
Hotels, motels, camping grounds and caravan parks are booked out months – sometimes years – in advance.
It’s a growing trend that has seen campers and visitors flock to the city earlier and earlier each year.
Tamworth Regional Council officially opened a makeshift camping ground at Riverside Park on Thursday to accommodate the wave of visitors rolling in.
Before it had even opened, the camping ground – usually a popular sporting ground – had already sold 141 tickets.
Festival organiser Barry Harley said festival goers were converging on Tamworth earlier every year. Mayor Col Murray said country music was one of the major industries for the city, with more musicians calling it home to launch or cement their careers.
Tamworth Country Music is one of the top 10 festivals in the world.
It happens only once a year but the economic spin-off lasts much longer.
Tourism plays a great role in keeping our city ticking.
Even when the festival is over, thousands of visitors from across the country and even the world stick around to inject money into the regional economy.
Some might stay in Tamworth one or several days after the festival finishes.
Others will use the festival as an excuse to explore and visit the wider region.
Nundle, Gunnedah, Barraba and Guyra and a swag of other tiny towns will also benefit from festival traffic. The Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival even stages the event at the same time to ride on the coat tails of the Country Music Festival and capitalise on passing holiday traffic. When the city’s population doubles next week, try not to whinge. We must welcome our visitors because they inject huge dollars into the local economy that will keep it afloat for the remainder of the year.