Everyone from Keith Urban and Toyota right through to the music fan on the street have been pitching in for Rural Aid at festival this year, and the charity are making the most of the golden opportunity.
The charity kicked off in 2015 with the life-saving Buy a Bale campaign, and has since grown into a fully fledged support program for regional Australians, and haven’t they let them know this week.
Events coordinator Victoria Edwards has been blown away by the amount of people that have dropped into their stands to thank them.
“We never really expected it but we have had lots of farmers just drop in to thank us – it has been amazing,” she said.
“Obviously country music fans have an affinity with people in the bush, and the festival attracts people from all walks of life so it is really helping us raise that awareness.”
While the Keith Urban concert helped fill the charities coffers, they have also been named as the charity of choice by major sponsors Toyota this year.
While that means that the organisation gets two stands on the street, they also receive the profits from an icon of the Tamworth festival, the 18,000 Toyota Hats on the street this year.
“It has been so good to have our profile raised like that,” Ms Edwards said.
“Because people are coming from everywhere that awareness will go Australia wide, niot just in Tamworth, and I really think we are starting to get that message through that large parts of Australia are in the grips of a severe drought.
“City people are starting to understand that meat, bread and milk doesn’t just come from the supermarket.”
Council country music manager Barry Harley has more than pleased to see Rural AId named charity of choice by Toyota, and believes the very nature of the festival is also serving a greater purpose for rural communities.
“There was a little concern that the drought might impact on numbers, but what we have seen is that in some cases the festival is having a positive impact,” he said.
“Over 75 per cent of all 2800 performances are free which creates a great opportunity for a little respite or a break from the farm – that is something very unique to Tamworth.”
Ms Edwards agreed.
“A lot of those farmers we have spoken to are using the festival for a bit of relaxation,” she said.
“If they have got a bit of hay from us, or a bit of feed, and can get away for a few days that can make a lot of difference.”
Rural Aid are also accepting unused or spare instruments for their Gift of Music program.