It was 25 years ago that a bunch of friends got together and said, “What is the Christian community of Tamworth doing for the Country Music Festival?”
Ideas were tossed around. Someone sourced a big marquee. An urn, a teapot, some tables emerged. Tamworth Council were supportive and all was set for the Scripture Union Gospel Tent to take flight.
Now, 25 years further on, the Gospel Tent machine has burgeoned into a massive organism with arms and legs everywhere.
You will find them in the Gospel Tent off Kable Avenue, behind Target. The old marquee is still there offering free coffee and slice and some gentle live gospel music.
Scripture Union has a reputation for its quality kids programs and the children have their own festival. It’s called RockStar and it runs from 10-12 on Tuesday to Saturday with puppets, games and music. In the afternoon there are more informal activities for kids of all ages.
Each evening hosts a free concert at 7:30pm with names like Steve Grace, Dan Vogler and Dave Martin. Wednesday and Friday nights see the premiere of an unusual live audio-visual story-telling presentation called The Journey.
Steve Grace will also present a workshop on Tuesday at 11am.
You’ll find Christian buskers outside Adair’s and Target, the Salvo’s kitchen at 328 Goonoo Goonoo Road is serving reasonably priced meals and snacks from 7am till 5pm.
You’ll find people from the churches of Tamworth at the Kable Avenue Traffic Stop, eager to welcome visitors and help them find their way.
Throughout the week, the churches of Tamworth will be hosting around 20 concerts and country music services. Pick up a copy of The Gospel Gig Guide from the Gospel Tent, a definitive guide to the Christian events over the festival week.
The Australia Day Service at the Community Centre Darling Street is a blend of worshipping God, celebrating our Aussie heritage and enjoying the talents of our visiting Country artists. It starts at 7:30am, followed by a free breakfast.
Sunday 21st, raises the curtain with an interdenominational service at the Gospel Tent at 6pm.
It has become a massive undertaking with 300 volunteers. Last Saturday, they assembled at West Tamworth Public School for a final heads up and training. There was an air of excitement at the magnitude of it all.
Gospel Tent organiser, Dave Tankard, said, “We are grateful to Tamworth Regional Council and all the people who are giving of themselves to help make this a wonderful festival”.