COUNTRY music lovers flocked to Tamworth in droves for the mid-year Hats Off to Country Festival.
Pub owners and vendors have lauded the event a huge success, upping clientele numbers over four days of entertainment.
Tamworth West League Club entertainment manager Carolyn Stier said country music legend Adam Harvey’s act drew a massive crowd.
“There’s no doubt the festival boosted numbers, I was in the ticket box for sales for Adam Harvey and I certainly had people from Wollongong, Wagga and Mildura that had come through and stopped off on the way,” she said.
“It’s never going to be a normal January festival but it certainly adds to keeping the country music scene going throughout the year, there were lots of artists in town.
“Out at the DAG Sheep Station [in Nundle], there was Luke O’Shea, Brad Butcher, Felicity Urquhart – a lot of artists of good name and status that wouldn’t normally come through town of a weekend.”
Ms Stier said she’d love to see the festival extended next year.
“It’s been going for 19 years and it’s made a mark in the calendar, there are lots of festivals on these days but for those travellers that come from the southern regions it’s a great opportunity to see some big name artists,” she said.
The Albert Hotel hosted Toyota Star Maker winners Brad Cox and Rachael Fahim.
Licensee Andy Sloane said there was an awesome feel in the crowds, with plenty of newcomers coming through town.
“A lot of people travelling came specifically to see them, but we also had a ticketed show with a DJ that drew a lot of locals,” he said.
“I think it’s good with just that first weekend, even with the main festival you get a bit of a lull after the main weekend.
The Albert Hotel was the last stop on the Cowboy Crawl, by the end at least 60 pub-goers remained.
“The Longyard had Hurricane Fall which pulled a great crowd for them, and a lot of local acts were spread across the venues which gives them some work as well,” Mr Sloane said. Over at the Post Office Hotel, owner Andrew Coutts said numbers were on par with last year.
Night time trades were solid and numbers boosted over lunch service for the four day event. “We had no issues, no dramas and a few of the Robb College boys were in after the rugby on Saturday,” he said.