End of an era: Farewell to The Albert Hotel
It's the end of a chapter for Tamworth's music scene as one of the most popular watering holes readies to close its doors.
A few weeks ago, the Harvest Hotel directors announced the sale and closure of The Albert as of February 29.
Nick Weir was The Albert Hotel's publican for five years, from March 2013 to March 2018.
In that, Mr Weir put a particular focus on making it a hub for live music. Being a musician himself, he knows how important it was to foster a creative industry.
"Ever since I was 21 years old, I've been in pubs, but no longer after The Albert," he said.
"I don't think its rocket science to having a successful hotel; you need to put on entertainment, you need to be nice to people, you need to make sure you have good service and make them want to come back.
"It's always been one of my main ideas that I wanted to make a hub and get in with all those excellent local musicians, and I think we did that."
In time, The Albert became a place for the Tamworth music "family" to get together.
The Thursday night "Musos Jam" will always hold fond memories for Nick.
"I definitely think that we were trying to set an example for live music in Tamworth," he said.
"We had live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week."
The Tamworth Country Music Festival was a time for The Albert to shine, Nick said.
A marquee would be set up out the back, and it would be 10 days of great nonstop tunes.
"We had a lot of good acts such as Travis Collins who is just an amazing bloke and an amazing musician," he said.
"We had Adam Brand there one time. The amount of gratitude I have for Adam and Brooke and the rest of the Adam Eckersley band, they helped make it what it was.
"There's a lot of the local musos - Jared Scott, Sally-Anne Whitten, Alwyn Aurisch, Jimmy Craz, so many local guys and girls - who made it what it was, I just gave them somewhere to go."
Nick said while he knew he made the right decision handing over the reigns, he was disappointed to hear it would be closing down.
"It's an end of an era," he said.
Nick said he hopes that other locations take to heart the legacy of The Albert - that live music brings people together.
"Live bands are just fantastic to watch," he said.
"They may not be the best band you've ever seen, but they're up there giving their heart and soul every night, and that's something worth going to watch.
"I have been known to hit the DF [dance floor] when the DJ is playing although I don't really go out and see DJs, there are generations of people that will go out to see them.
"As long as their out supporting live music in general, not sitting at home."
Sally-Anne Whitten, musician and 2TM host, said she had seen some of the best live music acts at The Albert.
"Way back, nearly 20 years ago, when it was the City Taven I used to host an open mic night," she said.
"We would get people like Adam Eckersley come down and jam, it was a great time for music in Tamworth.
"Seeing it progress to when Nick Weir had it and encourage this healthy music scene where bands started, and singers found musicians - it was a cool thing."
Sal, with her band Splashpool, took over the marquee at The Albert during the Country Music Festival.
She added that Tamworth must have a vibrant music scene, especially considering it's between Sydney and Brisbane.
"I was sad to hear The Albert would be closing. It's a chapter of the city's music industry that is closed now."
Harvest Hotels Directors Chris Cornforth and Fraser Haughton said The Albert's new owner is still to announce what the future of the establishment will be.
“Our plans for The Courthouse Hotel have been underway for many years, and our purchase of The Albert played a large part in being able to make these plans come to light,” explained Chris and Fraser.
"When one door closes, another opens. We wish the new owners all the best and look forward to seeing further development and increased activity take part at this end of the CBD to expand experiences for the community."