“Let the music begin.”
As those now infamous words escape from the lips of mayor Col Murray at 7pm on Friday evening, Tamworth Country Music Festival 2019 will officially kick off.
This year the festival is boasting more than 1100 artists, performing some 2800 scheduled shows across 100-plus venues, making it one of, if not the, largest festival in the world, according to the council’s country music manager Barry Harley.
“We are expecting 35,000 to 45,000 people to pour into town on Friday morning as the festival starts,” Mr Harley said.
“Although, the official opening will be at the concert in the park when the mayor says those immortal words at 7pm.”
This year the opening concert will see more than a dozen artists doing what they do best, including Hurricane Fall, Warren H Williams, Jasmine Rae and Jayne Denham, as well as a “multi Golden Guitar-winning” surprise guest.
“We want the opening night to be a snapshot of what will be on offer over the 10 days – a real variety of music and stars,” Mr Harley said.
“The fireworks will go up at 9pm before we finish with Murphy’s Pigs and The Western Distributors.”
Once again, the festival will peak with a massive Australia Day long weekend, which is expected to keep a crowd of 50,000 people in town for the full weekend.
While there have been some minor changes to the layout, organisers have been fine-tuning just one thing – and it isn’t the music.
“It’s not just about music; the feedback we get is that visitors come for the whole experience.
“The music changes organically through the years, so all we do each year is tweak what has been working well, and deliver the experience that visitors have come to expect – 10 days of good times.”