Back for it’s 46th year, the Tamworth Country Music Festival turns Tamworth, in regional NSW into a massive, 10 day celebration, showcasing the biggest and brightest in Australian country music. Bringing in a crowd of over 50,000 people, it’s the largest music festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The 700 performers at 2,800 shows across 120 venues have visitors kicking up their heels and singing along.
The centre of town becomes a bustling pedestrian haven, with market stalls, carnival rides, buskers and pop-up stages lining the streets. With a range of free and ticketed events, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to family entertainment.
This year, Tamworth welcomes internationally successful country music icons such as Lee Kernagham, The McClymonts and Troy Cassar-Daley. The festival reflects the diversity of country music, with everything from buskers to bush poets! You’ll hear a mix of traditional country music as well as bluegrass, hillbilly, gospel and rock!
If you’re heading to the festival for it’s big finale this weekend, here’s what not to miss!
Toyota Park (Bicentennial Park), a top spot in Tamworth for families all year round, takes on an extra special atmosphere during the 10-day festival, offering free live concerts every night. The Toyota Star Maker Grand Final was a huge hit last weekend, drawing a huge crowd to watch Brad Cox take home the title, joining huge names such as Keith Urban, Beccy Cole and Lee Kernaghan in the Star Maker hall of fame. This weekend promises to deliver another huge night of family-friendly entertainment with Stars Under the Stars kicking off at 7pm on Friday 26th January 2018 and the Toyota Busking Championships taking place at the same time the following night.
In the heart of town, just outside the post office, the Toyota Fanzone puts on free shows every day from 10am. Fans get to see their favourite performers live and up-close and even have the chance to meet them after the show! From the biggest names in Australian country music to the best emerging talent around Australia. Click here to check out the full line-up.
While you’re there, hit up the Toyota Hat promotion at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm every day to score your own cowboy hat for $2! All proceeds go straight to the Melanoma Institute Australia. These beauties have become somewhat of a collector’s item for festival veterans!
The Family Zone just across from Bicentennial Park is the perfect spot for kids to check out the carnival rides, win a prize at the sideshow stalls and pick up a show bag. The 20m Ferris wheel dominates the street, with dodgem cars, cup ‘n’ saucer rides, jumping castles, bungee trampolines and convoy truck rides happening below.
Head down to Peel Street on Saturday 27th to catch the Toyota Country Music Cavalcade, one of the festivals most popular events. This year’s theme is ‘Australian Country Music Icons’ so there’s bound to be some fun and exciting designs!
Returning again this year, the Toyota 4×4 Drive Track is always a hit. Parents can take one of Toyota’s latest SUV’s for a spin on the off-road course; a series of bumps, boulders and even a 30 degree ramp (much steeper than you think). Accompanied by a professional, you can really see what these machines can do. Open from 10am-5pm daily on Kable Avenue, younger kids will love watching the cars take on the obstacles on the track, especially the 4×4 Monster Trailer!
Top tips for families
Take a ride on the Ferris wheel during a show at Bicentennial Park so you can see the stage from up high!
Take advantage of the undercover seating in the Family Zone to escape the sun.
Unsurprisingly, Tamworth temperatures can get pretty hot! Go and see the crew in the Toyota Fanzone for some sunscreen.
Of course, no trip to Tamworth would be complete without visiting the Golden Guitar! Snap a photo and throw in the hashtag #TCMF2018
For more info about the event, head to the official website.
I was blessed with parents who really saw the value in travel. After our first family trip abroad to Thailand, I became obsessed. I was hungry for anything new and different. I yearned to be in the middle of a city on the other side of the world with a suitcase in one hand and google maps in the other, stumbling around trying to figure out where I was going; literally and spiritually.