TAMWORTH'S iconic winter music festival promises to bring country tunes to town once again and satisfy the cravings of music-lovers missing out on live entertainment.
The Hats Off To Country festival will largely be run online this year, but local country music star Ashleigh Dallas will be back where she belongs on Thursday night - performing on-stage with her dad and brother.
"We're essentially performing to two audiences, one being the people there and one being a camera to Facebook-land," she said.
Dallas is set to take the stage at West Leagues Club from 8pm on Thursday, the first day of the four-day festival. Her set will be streamed as well, for those playing along at home.
"It will be a smaller crowd because of social distancing rules but it will be so nice to just see people there and support our local venues as well," she said.
Dallas described having an audience singing along and enjoying her songs as the "heartbeat" of country music.
"When you look out and you can actually see people enjoying your original music or they're singing along to it, it just fills your heart with pride," she said.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic this year, Hats Off To Country will bring the best of country music into people's homes through their phones, laptops and televisions.
When you look out and you can actually see people enjoying your original music ... it just fills your heart with prideAshleigh Dallas
A stellar line-up boasting more than 100 artists - including new talent and plenty of Golden Guitar Award winners - will serenade people who tune in between Thursday and Sunday.
Although it will be different this year, Dallas said she thinks it's really special the event is going ahead.
"Hats Off has been around throughout my entire childhood, to where I am now as a solo artist, so it's so nice to be able to perform as part of the festival line up and just roll with how we've got to do it," she said.
"It makes me so proud of the community that I live in, and as a country music artist, and what we've got here and what we've built. I take my hat off to the event organisers."
Growing up in Tamworth, Dallas can barely remember her initiation into the Hats Off To Country festival.
The event is celebrating its 21st birthday this year, and she said she believes her family has been involved since it started.
The star-studded Hats Off To Country program is packed with local talent and artists from further afield.
Concerts will be streamed live on the Hats Off To Country Facebook page from July 9 to July 12, and some local venues will host live sets.
For a look at the full program, visit the Hats Off To Country website.