STARS studded Sydney for the 2020 Toyota Golden Guitar Award finalist nominations.
Tamworth's own Ashleigh Dallas walked the red carpet, along with country music royalty Lee Kernaghan and prolific songwriter Allan Caswell.
Kernaghan and Felicity Urquhart cleaned up at the awards with eight nominations each.
Speaking exclusively to the Leader, Urquhart said she was so proud of the work she had produced with her late-husband Glen Hannah.
It was a great opportunity to be back among friends of country music, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray said.
"This marks the first day of our festival and it's such a pleasure to be able to get together with everyone here and celebrate the launch of our 48th Tamworth Country Music Festival," he said.
"It's such a privilege for me as mayor in my 10th year now to be a part of this festival.
"I couldn't be prouder of our city and how all our stakeholders really put their shoulder to the wheel to make it work."
The awards were hosted by The McClymont sisters Brooke, Mollie and Sam, who announced another country music baby is on the way for Brooke just after the festival in Tamworth next year.
The trio are expected to release a new album and tour next year.