By Rebecca Belt
SIX-TIME time Golden Guitar finalist Travis Collins was in Tamworth on Wednesday, December 7, to help launch the festival locally and speak about what it meant to him.
Collins said, to describe the festival as a family reunion was cliché, but there was no better way to explain it.
“It is like Christmas time when we call come home,” he said.
“We break bread and have beers and talk about what we’ve been doing and plan our year. If you took that out every January, then who knows what would happen to the whole country music industry. In business terms, it’s like our AGM.”
The former Toyota Star Maker winner was overcome by emotion as he spoke about scraping up enough money to help his family bring him to the festival in the beginning, tempered by the joy he felt in being able to call his mum last week after he was named a six-time finalist in the Country Music Awards of Australia on Tuesday, November 29.
“When I came to Tamworth, I found my crowd,” he said.
“It validated what I loved and who I wanted to be.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson also helped launch the festival locally and in Sydney last week.
“Bring it on,” he said.
Fairfax Rural Events general manager Kate Nugent brought plenty of impressive statistics to the launch, with 2741 official events at the 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival involving more than 700 artists. Those are just the events listed in the official guide with 78 per cent of events free to attend.
Tamworth Regional Council Country Music Unit general manager Barry Harley spoke about the economic impact, stating that the festival inject $53 million to the economy.
He said the focus was on the festival getting better, not necessarily bigger.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival runs from January 19 – 29.