RISING stars will rock out with country music royalty at the weekend, when the first ever Academy X workshops stream to a record number of keen students.
The Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) will play host to the virtual event on Saturday and Sunday, which is a re-imagined version of the traditional in-person academy, in order to stay in tune with COVID rules.
Academy director Lyn Bowtell said more than 75 people had registered to take part in this year's intensive two-day course.
"I was so bummed to think we'd have to cancel so moving forward with the webinars is really exciting," she said.
The Academy usually runs a hands-on, two-week course before the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Ms Bowtell said it's limited to a competitive 28 spots, and barriers like other commitments and living a long way from the country music capital can stop some would-be attendees from signing up.
But in the online world, those barriers don't have to silence artists.
"It's actually been a really good thing because people from all across Australia and even across the pond in New Zealand are coming to attend," she told the Leader.
"It looks like we can continue to run something like this moving forward - not in place of the usual event but alongside it."
Ms Bowtell said she hoped - judging by the uptake in this first year - numbers could surge into the hundreds in coming years.
Anyone can sign up to be a part of Academy X 2021, until Friday.
Ms Bowtell said it's been a mammoth team effort to pull together some of the industry's most accomplished professionals, along with the technical work involved in hosting a webinar.
"I'm an admin queen right now," she laughed.
Up and comers can expect small-group tutoring and larger-scale workshops during the weekend's webinars.
The sweet sound of country music will still sweep across the city in January, despite the cancellation of the official festival. Ms Bowtell said she's keen to play a couple of shows herself.
"Usually I'd be downing the Beroccas but this one should be more relaxed and I'm just looking forward to playing with my mates," she said.