FACE MASKS will become a fashion feature of the "virtual" red carpet, when the Golden Guitar Awards light up Tamworth in the age of COVID-19.
A program of performances is scheduled for the country music capital across the next ten days, despite several main venues choosing to pull the plug.
Country music's golden night is set to take place live at the TRECC next Saturday, and a number of fan favourites will still light up stages across Tamworth with strict COVID rules in place.
Tamworth Regional Council entertainment venues manager Peter Ross said he was "very confident" COVID-safe shows could be delivered, with crowds capped at 75 per cent capacity.
"We've chosen to introduce compulsory mask wearing inside the venues, that means we can get the capacity up and make it viable for promoters and for us to present shows," Mr Ross told the Leader.
"We're not shutting Bunnings and we're not shutting Coles so we don't need to shut our entertainment venues if they can provide a safe environment."
The Golden Guitar Awards would normally draw a sold-out crowd of 3000 people, but will be capped at about 600 this year.
"COVID creates a triple layer and we need to double check everything, so in a way it's been just as busy and intense as a normal festival this year," Mr Ross said.
"Performing is what these artists are born to do, to entertain, and everyone is really excited."
Three gems of country music - the McClymont sisters - are just some of the industry icons set to take the stage at the TRECC next week.
The girls released a hit album Mayhem to Madness and are riding high with six Golden Guitar Award nominations, but also had a tough year separated by locked borders and haunted by silent stages.
Mollie McClymont told the Leader she couldn't miss the Tamworth festival - even if it's unofficial.
"We've been going for 27 years or something insane ... Tamworth is like our second home," she said.
Mollie said the McClymonts show on January 20 will be a "special one", and mark the first time the sister trio has belted out hits from their latest albumto a live crowd.
"It's like our baby is being released to the world and we can finally perform the songs together," she said.
Mr Ross said none of the shows across council venues are sold out yet, but that wasn't their intention.
"These shows aren't about selling out, it's about the artists' ability to get up and perform again and patrons who are happy to come out and provide them with entertainment," he said.
There are still dozens of shows lined up for the ten days, and the full schedule can be found on the Destination Tamworth website.