PARKES won't be saying 'thank you, thank you very much' to Tamworth Country Music Festival organisers after the decision was made to move the massive event to the same dates as the small town's iconic Elvis Festival.
The David vs Goliath battle of the bands has left Parkes organisers reeling, as market stalls, fans, suppliers and artists are left with the difficult decision of whose party to go to.
Parkes Elvis Festival director Tiffany Steel said the team found out on Facebook that Tamworth had decided to shift its dates to April.
"It was really disappointing, because we kept them in the loop in our decision-making when we cancelled last year and when we made the decision to move our festival to April," she said.
"I think everyone's quite taken aback and quite shocked at the announcement, we've had a number of phone calls this morning from market stall holders and people that just can't believe the decision - we are a bit shocked and very disappointed."
The Elvis Festival generates a whopping $13 million for the town's economy in a time that's traditionally quiet.
A statement from the organisers said they are "extremely disappointed" and in a state of "absolute disbelief" over the decision.
Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) mayor Russell Webb announced the country music festival would be postponed to April 18 to 24 late on Friday, after a crisis meeting with stakeholders just an hour before.
Cr Webb said the decision presented a significant logistical challenge.
"I totally understand the disappointment from Parkes that the Elvis Festival and our milestone overlap, but unfortunately it simply could not be avoided," he said.
"I am confident the two can successfully co-exist on this occasion, because we know the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of Australians who want to holiday close to home.
"Parkes does not need to worry - there is enough difference between the two events to appeal to different audiences."
Parkes mayor Ken Keith has written to TRC expressing his "great disappointment" about the "clash with the Parkes Elvis Festival".
Cr Webb said he planned to write back to him about how quickly things unfolded on Friday.
"We simply did not have time to consult or call the organisers of the Parkes event before we made the public announcement about our festival on Friday afternoon, it was a real whirlwind of activity with hundreds of contractors and service providers still in the process of being contacted," he said.
"There were many reasons why April 18 to 24 were the only suitable dates for us to postpone our 50th celebration to.
"However, I am extremely confident that while both festivals will run at the same time this year, both will be a success for each community in these very challenging times."
He said the decision had to be made quickly after the state government's changes to COVID-19 restrictions to give certainty to the people involved and clarity to the people who were already on their way to Tamworth.
The 50th was initially planned for January 14 to 23.
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