Pubs and venues throughout Tamworth have reported a "massive economic boost" in the wake of the 2024 Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF).
While the final tally is yet to be revealed, many local venues expect that the numbers will be high across the board, in some cases with event ticket sales surpassing pre-COVID levels.
Director of the Tamworth Pub Group, Craig Power, said all five of his venues and many other local establishments were filled to the brim with patrons during the festival.
"This will be a massive economic boost to the town for all retailers and venues," he said.
"We would probably do two or three times more trade than the normal month of January. So, it's been such a massive boost to Tamworth.
"The two main groups that make this work are the entertainers and our staff."
Despite some heatwave conditions during the 10-day festival, Mr Power said nothing could have deterred the country music fans.
"We're in country Australia, and country Australia is hot," he said.
"People love coming here because it is hot, and I have never, ever seen the festival effected by the heat. People have realised that if they want to be cowboys, they have to get used to the heat."
The manager of entertainment venues and producer of the Golden Guitar Awards, Peter Ross, said there had been consistent numbers across all venues.
"Our numbers were just on 30,000 tickets sold across ticketed acts, including the events at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC)," he said.
"That is a record in the last few years, so in 2019, before the COVID run, we had recorded 28,000 ticket sales."
Mr Ross said the inclusion of up-and-coming and international artists had definitely attracted a younger audience, which had helped the festival bounce back.
But, despite the positive uptick for local pubs and clubs, smaller businesses have taken to social media to express their feelings of neglect.
One user said the council should rethink how the festival operated in terms of the north-eastern end of Peel Street towards the Courthouse Hotel.
The post recommends the block right up to Bourke Street should be closed-off, like in previous years.
However, TCMF manager Barry Harley said the decision to only block off the main street between White and Brisbane streets was made due to regulations and risk assessments.
"The movement of the traffic seemed to be more towards the Bicentennial Park, and the park has become a major engagement point," he said.
"The decision to shorten the precinct along Peel Street was considered some years ago so [the festival] would encapsulate the park and become a more defined area," he said.
"Back in the day, those businesses down the north end of Peel Street were consulted, and there was quite a bit of understanding.
"The reality is that a more contained area is better in terms of risk, health and safety issues, and the ordinance in terms of road maintenance and accessibility."
"Overall, it is a decision made for positive outcomes.
"The decision to shorten the closed street precinct and include Kable Avenue was one that was taken into account by all emergency services, bus routes, and many other elements that needed to be considered."