FORGET cravats, bowlers and ascots – the straw cowboy hat is the only fashion accessory Tamworth Country Music Festival goers need.
The straw hat has been an icon of the festival for more than two decades, and the newest style officially launched on Friday.
For Tamworth resident Dot Ison, the festival is a touching connection to her late brother, musician ‘Gentleman’ Geoff Brown.
“He was one of the first people on Hoedown when you used to go to bed and listen to the radio,” she said.
“It always will connect me because our whole family will never stop being involved in it.”
The coloured band on the hat changes each year to reflect the chosen charity, and the hats are available for a $2 donation.
This year, a bright blue links the festival hat to Rural Aid, a charity that supports farming families in drought.
It reflects that great Aussie spirit to get in and help one another Mrs Ison said.
“We all love hats I think, it might make you look silly, it might make you look good – bad luck, $2 is not much to ask to support a charity,” she said.
Every year, more than 15,000 hats are distributed to avid fans and festival goers – for some they’re a revered collectible.
The festival hats can be purchased from Ray Walsh House or the Tamworth Toyota Dealership with all proceeds going to Rural Aid.
It’s a great way to show support to farmers in need festival organiser Barry Harley said.
“The hats have become a symbol of Tamworth and most people when they come really look forward to getting hold of their souvenir hat,” he said.