Tamworth Country Music Festival


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Tamworth Country Music Festival

  1. 1. ==== ====Country music is the most enjoyable to relax and dream.www.countrymusic.web44.net==== ====So unfolds another Tamworth Country Music Festival. A ten day period where people manage tokeep on smiling, while ignoring the extreme summer heat. It is a marathon to survive so seasonedfestival goers plan their days accordingly.This is the thirty-eighth Tamworth festival and as a Tamworth girl myself, I have experienced morethan thirty of them. Some of those years missing were given to living in other countries. But I havemanaged to travel back for most of the others if living interstate or elsewhere.Memories of my first festival, then a three day event, are somehow some of the clearest of mychildhood. As a young girl wearing a long floral dress, I sat in the front row at the 1973 GoldenGuitar awards at the Tamworth Town Hall. I watched the stars collect their awards, while swingingmy little legs, too short then to reach the ground. I knew everyone on the stage though and everyword to their winning songs.My father was very involved in the early days of the industry and these stars were family friends,dropping in from time to time to play music with the folks. In those days, the life of a country artistwas to tour for about nine months a year, towing their caravan around this great land. Then itwould be a time to rest, regroup a little and head off for the next year.Our farm was rarely without a caravan sitting in a paddock. Buddy Williams, Stan Coster, Rick andThel Carey, Jimmy Little, and numerous others dropped in regularly, some staying on for a fewmonths. One morning, Thel Carey came in from her van, talking about waking at two in themorning with a new song in her head. I stood there, listening to her, and thinking how great itwould be to write a song. I was about six years old. Almost three decades passed before I finallywrote my first song.Things have certainly changed in the thirty-eight years of Tamworth festival. No longer do Irecognise every second person walking down the street for example. Mind you, with all of myyears of roaming, I do run into someone I know at every venue I go to. This is a great joy ofTamworth for many people, running into old friends, catching up, hearing fabulous music andsharing in the good will of the festival.There are so many festivals within the festival too. There is the mainstream one where, if you area follower of commercial radio and country music video clips, your wishes will be satisfied withopportunities to see all of the stars, live in concert at various places. There is also the glamour ofthe Golden Guitar Awards attached to that scene, with the red carpet and all that stuff.There are poets breakfasts every day in the clubs. These draw a huge crowd. So do gigs for theloyal fans of traditional Australian country music, in the bush ballad scene. Both of these
  2. 2. experiences are an integral part of the festival.Of course there is also the rapidly growing scene of modern music in Tamworth now too, which ishorrifying and enraging many country music devotees. In order to attract a younger audience totown, many popular acts from mainstream music are being invited in. The amount of energy beingput into this debate is pretty interesting at the moment and there are valid points from both sides.Personally, even though my own tastes in music are very diverse and not at all limited to country, Ido miss the old flavour of the festival, with old timers singing ballads in the main street, the chookman with his menagerie of friends, the one man bands who wandered around delighting everyoneand the guarantee of hearing songs you would recognise from years gone by.As far as the debate goes though, I do find it interesting that Nashville type music has beenaccepted completely into the Australian Country Music scene, yet so much hoo-ha is going onabout other music coming in. While the Nashville sound is not particularly to my own personaltaste, I am respectful of it as music and of those who are drawn to it. There is certainly anaudience for the Nashville music at Tamworth Festival. Yet this style is also responsible for hugelychanging the face of the festival and has been accepted without too much debate. It is notAustralian Country Music, though many artists now feel a need to sound this way, perhaps toattract a more international audience. And that is their choice.Australian Country Music was originally more about ballads, and stories of the land and its people.But all genres are merging more and more each year. And we cannot hold back change. Changeis inevitable, a guaranteed part of life.So it is not surprising that different styles of music have been creeping in over the years. Some ofthe talent on Peel St is phenomenal, coming from the more indie sounds. These days, there is anaudience for all types of music in Tamworth, not just traditional country music. There is definitelyan audience here for indie, folk, blues, pop, jazz, rock, anything. That is the beauty of theTamworth crowd. It may be mostly country music fans, and that is the ideal for a country musicfestival, but it is not only country fans anymore. These additional people also bring goodwill andmoney into the town.I guess it is about finding a balance for the continued success of the festival. I dont know all of theanswers, but I do know that Tamworth is one of the most friendly and joyous festivals. And if it canbe managed well, with country music still being the main theme, then the fringe festivals that aregrowing within the festival can still work. This will satisfy the needs of all who come to town.The alt. country scene, for example, has been steadily growing for years and is the one I spendthe bulk of my time enjoying. It blends country with blues, folk, swing and soul. The talent in thisgenre is fantastic, with each act developing their own sound, rather than ending up sounding likeeveryone else. I am always open to seeing any new music at Tamworth, but especially in thiscategory. Check out The Junes, Cyndi Boste, Karl Broadie, or Den Hanrahan if you would like toget a feel for this music. My own music also fits into this category a little, with a folk influence.And of course in Tamworth, we cannot forget the camping world. Some of the best music I haveheard here over the years has been from the campground. As I visit friends who camp in the samespot each year, swimming daily in the gorgeous river, music permeates from all directions. It truly
  3. 3. is a wonderful, fun time.My own main gig this year was beautiful. I am not interested in gigging every day of the festival. Ienjoy being a part of it, definitely, but I also like to enjoy some freedom of time during the ten days,to discover unexpected hidden joys. So I did a few enjoyable spots, as part of other gigs, and Iloved my main gig greatly. I rarely play at pubs these days, they are just not my thing. The venue Ichose was perfect, a small theatre with beautiful acoustics and a welcoming vibe. It was anintimate gig, as intended, and I loved every minute of it and the bond shared with the audience. Iam so glad to have chosen to do it this way.I sit now in a great café that serves organic tea and coffee. It is somehow peaceful in heredespite the waves of music floating in from Peel St, where buskers sing day and night. By day, ittruly is a cacophony. A different sound emanates from every ten metres or so. Some musicianshave power and amps, some brave souls try to be heard acoustically. The tree-lined streets areclosed off and pedestrians wander block after block, listening to all that Peel St has to offer. It is awonderfully crazy thing to experience.My favourite time to experience Peel St, however, is late afternoon or early evening. The heat ofthe day has departed, as have many of the poor exhausted buskers. Then there is music onlyevery fifty metres or so. Bands set up and play for hours in the cool of the summer nights. Whilemany people are sitting in the air conditioned clubs at this time, eating their smorgasboard dinner,I prefer to grab some noodles, wander the street until I find the right music and a tree to sitagainst, and make myself at home. As I did this a couple of nights ago, I was delighted to comeacross The Slimy Brothers, some friends from a previous festival. They entertained with their greattunes and harmonies, as the summer night unfolded all around me. After that we wandered downthe street hearing more sounds, particularly enjoying the Perch Creek Family Jugband. They havebeen enjoying fast growing popularity in recent years and anyone who has heard them will knowwhy.So if you have been tempted to get yourself to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, I do hopethat you treat yourself to the experience in coming years. Every January this lovely Australiancountry town more than doubles in size, accommodating the warmth of its visitors. There is musicfor everyone, even those who dont like country music. And lets face it, in the cities and coastalareas there are plenty of people who dont. But in the inland areas of Australia, there are very fewwho do not love the sound of country tunes.There are country skies so vast they will take your breath away, country smiles so genuine thateveryone is made welcome, and of course, there are country tunes, some that even manage tosway the most ardent anti-country music types.I hope to see you here sometime. But now, best I get back in amongst it. There are toes to betapping. Oh Tamworth! You simply have to experience it to know it. Go on. Do yourself the favour.Bronnie Ware is a writer, singer/songwriter, songwriting teacher and speaker from Australia.Drawing on her diverse background and vast life experiences, Bronnie shares her inspiringobservations and insights through her work. To read more of her articles and learn about her other
  4. 4. work, please visit Inspiration and Chai at http://www.inspirationandchai.com.Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bronnie_Ware==== ====Country music is the most enjoyable to relax and dream.www.countrymusic.web44.net==== ====