The headlines on the TCMF website say that the Tamworth Country Music Festival is “Australia’s Largest Music Festival – 10 Days – 700 Artists – More Than 2800 Events”.
We headed to Tamworth to find out what people have been raving about!
Tamworth is about a five-hour drive from Sydney – it’s an easy drive passing through pretty countryside and charming towns – particularly Murrurundi and Willow Tree. In fact if you leave Sydney in the morning, the Willow Tree Inn is a great place to stop for lunch. Their award-winning Graze Restaurant and Bistro serves one of the best steaks you will ever have. Across the road is The Plains Pantry – another great place for good coffee, home baked meals, cakes and gourmet groceries.
Arriving in Tamworth, we checked into our accommodation – a beautiful 4-bedroom house booked on Air BnB – https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/16601465?s=Yyu1lrte
Located in Carthage Street, our accommodation is within walking distance of Peel Street (Tamworth’s main street), supermarkets and shopping centre.
The house is immaculately renovated with 4 large bedrooms plus a large extension comprising the living/dining/kitchen area, new bathroom and laundry plus large outdoor patio. The main bedroom has a walk through robe plus large ensuite. The kitchen is fully equipped with large Kleenmaid cooktop and oven, Kleenmaid dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator – and everything for self-catering. We were very happy with our accommodation and can highly recommend this home.
There is a lot happening in Tamworth over this weekend to say the least. We begin our weekend with a stroll down Peel Street, which has been turned into a pedestrian-only area for the festival. The lovely shady street is lined with buskers – we have never seen nor heard so many buskers at any one time.
Buskers were of all ages – our favourites were Smoke Hazard, Roshani and Nathan Griggs – Whipcracking World Record Holder.
There are a few stages set up along Peel Street where some of the more well-known performers entertain the crowds – such as the McClymonts.
Our favourite experiences of the Festival include:
- Free concerts every night at Toyota Park – take a picnic blanket and enjoy a variety of country music entertainers (the famous, the popular and the newcomers) in a lovely setting.
- The Ironman 4×4 ABCRA National Finals Rodeo – including roping, barrel-racing, buck-jumping and bull-riding – an exciting night- at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC).
- Toyota Golden Guitar Awards – the culmination of the festival – see the best of the best perform and receive a host of awards at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre.
- Live music in the pubs and clubs – we frequented The Longyard Hotel and the West Tamworth League Club. Good meals are available at both venues.
- The FanZone on Peel Street in the Post Office building – see and hear live interviews, performances, etc.
- The Toyota Country Music Cavalcade – a procession of floats, bands, horse drawn carriages and more – along Peel Street.
There are many more experiences that we did not have time for including concerts by well-known artists such as Troy Cassar-Daley, Lee Kernaghan, Casey Chambers and John Williamson – it is advisable to book in advance for those.
There are a number of guides to the festival. The most comprehensive is the Official Guide ($10) however there are a number of free guides available that we picked up during our visit.
There are plenty of places to eat out – our favourites were the Honey Pot Café (2/11 White Street, Telephone 6766 5485), The Pig & Tinder Box (429 Peel Street, Telephone 6766 1541), the Black Barrel Barbecue mobile van (Smoked American BBQ meats) and Pat’s Lebanese Catering mobile van.
The festival runs for 10 days but if you don’t have that long to spare, we found we were able to hear and see a lot of talent in a long weekend.
The 2018 Tamworth Country Music Festival will run from 19 January – 28 January 2018. Don’t miss it!
26-28 January 2017