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2TM Regional News

Three options on the table as Councillor's vote on future of the TCFM 2021

The future of the Tamworth Country Music Festival 2021 hangs in the balance of a vote at the local Council meeting on Tuesday 8th September.

Councillors have three options to consider, however, the recommendations are that all council events are suspended and the Golden Guitar Awards move online for 2021.

The Business Paper prepared for Council by Anna Russell Acting Director of Growth and Prosperity sets out the three different scenarios that the council started planning when COVID-19 reached Australia back in January.

Scenario 1 dubbed 'Business as usual' would see the festival continue as it has in previous years.

As the biggest country music festival in the southern hemisphere, more than 50,000 visitors come from around Australia and the world to attend each day in previous years.

This option is highly unlikely to be accepted by Councillors or anyone in the community and is in fact against current laws restricting the gathering of large groups of people.

Under current COVID-19 legislative requirements, detailed in Public Health (COVID-19

Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020, outdoor gatherings of more than 20 people are banned. In addition, “Music Festivals” (as defined in Music Festivals Act2019) of any kind are not permitted.

Recommendation to the council on Scenario 1 is that "Any attempt to host a festival in its usual format will be illegal".

The second option is a concert series held at the TRECC utilising social distancing and hygiene measures.

Scenario 2 - Tamworth "Concert Series" is said to cost more than usual with lower income generated however, would allow Tamworth to maintain its reputation as the country music capital.

The report to council states Scenario 2 has numerous logistical complications to ensure people from so-called COVID 'hotspots' do not attend, and could "risk importing the pandemic into our region".

Scenario 3 has been recommended to the council and outlines suspending all in-person events whilst committing to a virtual Awards event streamed around the world.

The anticipated cost of putting on a virtual awards night is less than the budget allocated for delivering the festival and therefore won't have any negative financial implications for the local council budget.

Public submissions for Tuesday night’s council meeting must be submitted by 4:30 pm the day prior.


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