THE COUNTDOWN is on to fundraise and create a $99,000 statue of John Williamson before Tamworth Country Music Festival's (TCMF) 50th anniversary.
A fundraising committee has approached Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) for its support in the hopes the life-sized statue of the Australian country music singer can be unveiled in time for January.
The committee is concerned the loss of the festival due to COVID-19 has had a serious impact on the city, a report to councillors said.
"Firstly, Tamworth as a community has forgone a huge and inbuilt surge of annual Festival generated revenue," it said.
"Tamworth cannot afford to lose this incredible source of income for our regional centre for one year, let alone into the future.
"Tamworth must make sure it regains its momentum in a seriously competitive tourism calendar as soon as possible."
Mr Williamson has won almost 30 Golden Guitars since the start of his career in 1985.
The group's goal is to have the statue in a high-profile CBD spot, a mayoral minute written by Col Murray said.
"As well as signalling our resurgence as a festival, the honouring of one of Australia's most famous and well-loved singer/songwriters will signify to the general public the importance Tamworth places on acknowledging Australian country music," he said.
"A 12-month period is much shorter than normal for this sculptor."
Local artist Tanya Bartlett, who created the Slim Dusty and Joy McKean statues, has provided a $99,000 quote.
Councillors will vote on Tuesday whether to underwrite the project while the group fundraises.
It's expected the fundraiser will be launched in May.
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