Eric Scott wins top honour for services to country music

Country Music Festival co-founder and Country Music Hall of Fame president Eric Scott has been honoured with an honorary Order of Australia Medal for his tireless service to the industry.

Born in England, Mr Scott emigrated to Tasmania when he was 12 years old, shortly after he discovered a passion for radio, and has never looked back, falling into the country music scene by chance, before starting a record label, Hadley’s, and helped to kick off the Country Music Festival.

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These days, as president, Mr Scott continues to take the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame to all new heights, and has been a dedicated servant for over 24 years.

“It’s a lovely honour – I was astounded,” he said.

“It is an acknowledgement of what I have done for more years than I can remember, and it is wonderful.

“Everyone does their thing, and I just did what I did, I became part of the furniture.”

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While he didn’t always love, or have a great knowledge of country music, he was an excellent radio host and music producer, something that became apparent while he was still in school.

“We already had relatives in Tasmania and my father wanted to try this farming caper,” he said.

“When I went to school they wanted to teach me Australian Rules, but the referee kept blowing the whistle at me.

“Eventually I went down and found the radio station, and got into that.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Mr Scott began hosting a country music show, a genre that was foreign to him at the time, but before long the country music community embraced him, and vice versa.

Shortly after he and his wife Hillary started Hadley Records, which saw them move all over the eastern seaboard before landing a job at 2TM in Tamworth in 1968, bringing the record label with him.

Later that year, Mr Scott, Max Ellis, Kevin Knapp and John Minson came up with the idea of calling Tamworth the Country Music Capital, the name stuck, and shortly after the festival began on the back of their hard work.

Recently Mr Scott was also named as the Tamworth Region’s Volunteer of The Year for 2018, and in typically humble fashion he credited the team of fellow volunteers that stand beside him at the ACMHF.

While all this is cause to do “a little celebrating” on Monday, Mr Scott is most looking forward to something that has ironically become rare since he retired from full time employment, a day off.

While Hadley Records was “put to bed three or four years ago”, Mr Scott is now planning on putting its off-shoot, Yeldah Music, to bed as well, although his passion to preserve the artefacts and history of country music at the ACMHF shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Mr Scott will be officially recognised with the honorary OAM at a ceremony in Canberra later this year.