Riverside Camping Grounds officially open day early to accommodate happy campers

BLUEY Crouch has only ever missed two Tamworth Country Music Festivals (TCMF) since it started 46 years ago.

The Lightning Ridge man was in Tamworth on Thursday to stake his claim on a patch of grass when Riverside Camping Grounds officially opened a day early.

On Wednesday morning, there were 33 vehicles parked around the Riverside precinct waiting for camping to open. 

More arrived through the day, and the decision was made to open camping a day early. 

In preparation, Tamworth Regional Council shipped in 35 portable showers and 90 portable toilets to accommodate the influx of happy campers.

Mr Crouch said it was the lure of country music and the festival atmosphere that kept him coming back each year.

“Might have something to do with country music,” he chuckled.

“I love bush balladeers more than anything; the storytelling.”

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Mr Crouch’s mate John Gaffney isn’t far behind his TCMF innings, rolling out to his 42nd festival on Thursday.

It’s the “music, the party atmosphere and the friendly people” that he loves most. 

Tamworth mayor Col Murray officially opened the 1300-site campground on Thursday morning, which is expected to host some 3000 campers.

“One of the real pleasures of my office is to come over here and declare these wonderful campgrounds open,” Cr Murray said.

“It just seems to be that the campers are coming earlier and earlier and earlier, and I can understand that. 

“I don’t think there’d be a more beautiful spot to camp in Australia than around these tree-lined avenues here in the sporting fields.

“The average stay of a visitor at the festival is eight days.

“A lot of these campers we’d expect to stay for the duration. 

“It’s great to be able to come down, have a chat to the campers and you get to know, over time, a few of the regulars. It’s become a real genuine meeting place.

“They do form a significant number of festival attendees, and that’s something I think is growing.”

Backgrounder – Riverside Camping Grounds

  • On Wednesday morning, there were about 33 vehicles parked around the Riverside precinct waiting for camping to open. More arrived through the day and the decision was taken to open camping ahead of the original opening time of 9am Thursday.
  • On Wednesday the installation of 35 portable showers and 90 portable toilets was completed to supplement the facilities in clubhouses.
  • About 1300 sites are expected to be occupied this year. In 2017 there were 1343 sites sold with about 3250 campers. There is capacity for as many as 1500 sites.
  • There are already have 272 camping sites pre-purchased online. (131 sold by this time last year – the first year we had this option)
  • Festival campers who stay at our wonderful local caravan parks or other playing fields such as Tamworth Rugby Club and Jack Woolaston Oval.
  • There are also local schools which have camping (Oxley High School and St Nicholas Primary) or open their dormitories to Festival-goers (Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School and Calrossy Anglican School). There is also the Moogee pre-pitched tents available at Cross Park near the CBD. More information is at http://www.tcmf.com.au/Accommodation/Camping-and-Caravan-Parks/
  • Local sporting clubs members volunteer their time to work at the entry gates – clubs include Cricket, netball, Oz tag, softball and minor league.
  • Eftpos available. No cash sales
  • Campers can buy food at the Cricket, Minor League and combined Softball-Baseball clubhouses. This can include breakfast, lunch and dinnerwith some dine-in facilities.
  • Camping Fees at Riverside Camping Grounds (per site) in 2018 are:
    • Friday 12 January – Sunday 28 January (or part thereof) - $235
    • Friday 19 January – Sunday 28 January (or part thereof) - $155
    • Friday 26 January – Sunday 28 January - $100
  • Friday 12 January – Sunday 28 January (or part thereof) - $235
  • Friday 19 January – Sunday 28 January (or part thereof) - $155
  • Friday 26 January – Sunday 28 January - $100

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