Back in 1973, Tamworth staged its inaugural country music festival, an event now held every year that attracts over 300,000 visitors.
This ten day celebration of Australian country music, plus the many related music genres, is now Australia's largest music festival and has been recognised as one of the top 10 music festivals in the world.
Tamworth has long had an association with country music but it really took off in the mid-1960s when local radio station 2TM began promoting the city's music heritage through its evening programming. Soon the station was running concerts, initially to raise funds for charity, and later featuring performers such as Slim Dusty and Tex Morton.
In 1969, 2TM declared Tamworth as Australia's "Country Music Capital". The radio station staged the first Australasian Country Music Awards in the Tamworth Town Hall in January 1973. The main event was the inaugural Golden Guitar Awards, with the first Golden Guitar going to Joy McKean for her song "Lights On The Hill."
The event expanded rapidly and now features more than 2800 shows with 700 performers across 120 different venues. In recent years visitor numbers have exceeded 300,000. The 2022 festival will be the 50th anniversary.
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