News from Hats Off
Cowboy Up and Join the Crawl
Grab your boots, belts, and buckles for this year’s Hats Off To Country Festival as it kicks off its first ever Cowboy Crawl!
The inaugural Cowboy Crawl encourages participants to wear their best cowboy or cowgirl gear and prepare for a fun night out, traveling by bus to the coolest country music destinations in the Country Music Capital.
“Over the course of the evening crawlers will be taken to venues around the city where they can hop on and off the bus, enjoying the music and facilities on offer at participating venues,” said Hats Off To Country Music Festival spokeswoman Cheryl Byrnes.
Cowboy crawlers can expect to see some of Australian country music’s greatest acts with Anthony Taylor & Jared Scott, Beau Hatch & Band, Brothers3, Simply Bushed, and The Viper Creek Band, all set to perform.
Great country music and socialising aside, the Cowboy Crawl, similar to the popular Santa pub crawls held around the world, will also raise much-needed funds for charity with Ronald McDonald House in Tamworth, this year’s beneficiary.
“The Cowboy Crawl, while not a new concept, is a new event for the Hats Off To Country Festival and I encourage everyone, locals and festivalgoers alike, to grab some friends and get amongst it,” Cheryl said.
The inaugural Cowboy Crawl will kick off at the South Tamworth Bowling Club at 6.30pm on Friday, July 7, 2017, before heading to The Longyard Hotel, West Tamworth Leagues Club, Tamworth Services Club and the Post Office Hotel.
Tickets go on sale this week for $25 which includes venue entry and bus transport.
Make tracks for Tamworth in July for Toyota Hats Off To Country 2017 -- and don’t forget your cowboy boots!
For Cowboy Crawl tickets, a full program and further information about Toyota Hats Off To Country –Tamworth’s coolest dose of mid-year country music – visit hatsofftocountry.com
Australia’s coolest dose of country music is back this July
The countdown is on for Australia’s coolest dose of mid-year country music, with the Toyota Hats Off To Country festival set to once again rock Tamworth in July.
Running from July 6 to 9 in Australia’s home of country music, the popular mid-winter festival will be an explosion of country music headlined by some of the country’s brightest stars, including Luke O'Shea, Melinda Schneider, Catherine Britt and Amber Lawrence.
Now in its 18th year, Hats Off To Country will feature more than 100 individual country stars and dozens of events and activities over four big days and nights, with live music and shows on offer at 14 venues across the city.
Hats Off -- Tamworth's chance to welcome back the artists from the January Tamworth Country Music Festival – will see great country music on show at a host of locations across the city. At Wests’ Diggers and its sister club across the river, highlights include Melinda Schneider with guest 2017 Toyota Star Maker Rachael Fahim, Amber Lawrence & Catherine Britt -- Love & Lies, Ashleigh Dallas, Brothers 3, and the Dare 2 Dance Linedancers 19th Birthday Social.
Meanwhile, over at South Tamworth Bowling Club, the venue will be transformed into a “classic country central” and is set to feature Alby Pool, Anthony Taylor & Jared Scott, Sandra Humphries and Daniel Thompson in The Voice of Johnny Cash The Concert. The bowlo will also feature CCMA's Hats Off To Stan Coster Tribute, as well as the monthly CCMA Jam.
The Tamworth Services Club, it also set to be a crowd-pleaser, with Simply Bushed performing over two big nights, while at North Tamworth Bowling Club Golden Guitar winner Luke O’Shea’s intimate dinner show is a definite highpoint.
Likewise, Tamworth’s pub scene is well represented across Hats Off. Highlights include Mike Vee and The Viper Creek Band who will crank out the tunes at The Longyard Hotel, the 'Moonshiners' Honky Tonk Bar booked out at the Family Hotel, and Howdy's Hoedown with Dubby & Big Al set to wow revelers at The Pub.
For festival-goers extra keen to get into the country spirit, and to soak some up some Tamworth nightlife, there will be the inaugural ‘Cowboy Crawl’, a new event for the Hats Off program in 2017. The Cowboy Crawl promises a fun-filled tour of the city’s nightspots, which will see participants get dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls for the crawl through town.
For up and coming artists, the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music will be in full swing. Amber Lawrence, David Carter, Simon Johnson, Doug Gallacher and recent senior graduate and Toyota Star Maker finalist Liam Kennedy-Clark will instruct and inspire the contingent in a week-long workshop.
The DAG Sheep Station at Nundle will also see up and coming country artists gaining tuition from stars like Shane Nicholson, Luke O'Shea, Felicity Urquhart, Kevin Bennett, Aleyce Simmonds & Jeremy Edwards. During Hats Off The DAG will also showcase the students and their star mentors with a number of performances scheduled.
Of the festival, Tamworth Regional Council Country Music Unit Manager Barry Harley says “it’s extraordinary that Hats Off can boast more artists than any other festival in Australia even though in terms of scale it is much more moderate when compared to January.”
“We are looking forward to Hats Off becoming bigger and better because it continues to attract big name artists and is another fantastic reason to draw people to Tamworth - the home of country music in Australia.”
Make tracks for Tamworth in July for Toyota Hats Off to Country 2017 -- and don’t forget to bring your winter woolies with you!
For a full program and further information about Toyota Hats Off to Country – Tamworth’s cool, midyear festival, visit hatsofftocountry.com
2017 Singer/Songwriters Retreat
Thursday 6th to Tuesday 11th
The DAG Sheep Station in the beautiful hills of Nundle, will be hosting it’s fifth special Winter Songwriters Retreat, during Tamworth’s 2017 Toyota Hats Off To Country Festival in July.
Participants will get the chance to learn from some of Australian Country Music’s finest and successful Award Winning, Singer Songwriters including; Luke O’Shea, Felicity Urquhart, Kevin Bennett, Aleyce Simmonds, Jeremy Edwards and Shane Nicholson.
The 2017 Retreat will focus on song writing and collaborating with artists also coached in stage presence, artist development, studio production and music business.
This Retreat will be very hands on its approach. You will write songs, perform them and learn over in-depth sessions what took these veteran performer’s years to learn by trial and error.
The 2017 Singer Songwriters Retreat has been designed to give new and established artists a place to meet and grow creatively. All genres, Independent artists and artist under management are encouraged to be a part of this retreat, whether you are looking to improve your song writing, performance skills, creative flow or market presence, this Retreat is for you.
The program offered in this Retreat is laid back and allows time for collaboration, one on one- tuition with a variety of tutors and a chance to find personal growth whilst surrounded by some of Australia’s finest song writers, producers, performers and supportive peers.
Thanks to APRA AMCOS Australia an indigenous artist from North West NSW will be awarded the Indigenous Regional NSW Scholarship to attend the 2017 Retreat.
Since the Songwriters Retreat’s inception over 500 new songs have been written by attendees, with songs now recorded and appearing on both artists and tutors new EP’s and Albums.
One of the great successes has been ‘The Old Man’s Shed’, written by Luke O’Shea and John Krsulja at the 2014 Songwriters Retreat.
Recorded by Luke O’Shea and released on his current Album, ‘Caught Up In The Dreaming’, The Old Man’s Shed was awarded a Golden Guitar for ‘Toyota Heritage Song of The Year’ at the 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
In 2017 The DAG looks forward to continue on the success of the previous years and hopes to add a second Retreat to the calendar year which will focus on Songwriting and Music Production with some of Australia’s finest Songwriters and Producers.
For details on how to register please visit www.thedag.com.au and click on Events / Singer Songwriters Retreat.
Contact for interviews, images and further information:
John Krsulja – DAG Sheep Station
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 02 67693 486
Dates announced for 2017
Dates for you diary - Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 July 2017!
Midyear festival a cool reason to visit Tamworth
Less than two months out from the event, all indications are Australia’s coolest winter country music festival will be the hottest spot for talent anywhere in the nation in July. Presented by Tamworth Stakeholders in conjunction with Tamworth Regional Council, Toyota Hats Off to Country, proudly sponsored by Tamworth City Toyota, will be staged from July 7 to 10 in Australia’s Country Music Capital.
Golden Guitar-winning country star Adam Harvey will stand and deliver at the main event, the annual Southern Cross Austereo Give Me 5 for Kids concert, in Blazes at Wests on Saturday, July 9 at 7.30pm. Now in its sixth staging, the concert raises much-needed funds for the children’s ward at Tamworth hospital. Being the family man he is, Harvey said he looks forward to supporting this great cause every year.
Even before the festival begins, some of country’s brightest stars and sought-after musicians will have been in residence, teaching the next generation of artists at the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music from July 2 to 9.
Amber Lawrence, David Carter, Simon Johnson, Doug Gallacher, Rod Motbey and recent senior graduate and Toyota Star Maker finalist Liam Kennedy-Clark will instruct and inspire the contingent in a week-long workshop, leading up to graduation day, July 9, in the Peter Smart Centre at Calrossy. The juniors’ parents will also be schooled in various aspects of the industry. Class is also very much in session out at The DAG Sheep Station at Nundle, where it’s always one or two jumpers colder than Tamworth. The cool climes aid the creative process, says The DAG Singer-Songwriters’ Retreat founder John Krsulja.
Another enthusiastic cohort of students will gain expert tuition at The DAG from Golden Guitar winners and industry leaders Luke O’Shea, Kevin Bennett, Felicity Urquhart, Lyn Bowtell, Jeremy Edwards and Aleyce Simmonds during the week-long retreat in the hills of gold from July 7 to 12.
Along with the lessons, there will be plenty of practical “work experience” as tutors and students combine to present showcases, served with a tasty meal, courtesy of hosts John and Belinda Krsulja and their award-winning team.
Back in Tamworth, the beat goes on with live music and shows on offer at 14 venues across the city. For legendary Central Coast-based singer-songwriter Bill Chambers, coming back to Tamworth is always a homecoming of sorts. He’ll reign supreme on Saturday, July 9 in the Bill Chambers Room at The Pub on Gunnedah Rd, following the launch of 2016 Toyota Star Maker Karin Page’s new EP.
Great country entertainment can always be found at the Wests group, which includes Wests’ Diggers and its sister club across the river, Wests. That’s where you’ll find fabulous acts like Marie Hodson, Wendy Phypers and the Cartwheels, who are about to leave on a Queensland tour; Troy Kemp, fresh back from a songwriting stint in Nashville; Tamworth’s favourite country daughter, Ashleigh Dallas and her hot band; and local favourites Two Gals – Wendy Wood and Carolyne Morris.
South Tamworth Bowling Club becomes “classic country central”, showcasing the talents of crowd-pleasers Alby Pool, Sandra Humphries, Anthony Taylor and many more in its classic country lineup. The monthly CCMA Jam will herald the start of Hats Off activities at the bowlo on Wednesday, July 6 at 7pm.
Popular with audiences of all ages, Simply Bushed is tipped to draw large crowds to the Tamworth Services Club dance floor over two big nights, while Golden Guitar winner Luke O’Shea will share some heartfelt story-songs of Australia and its people in a special dinner show at North Tamworth Bowling Club.
The Bligh St bowling club is also the launching pad for a new tribute show, devised by Werris Creek songstress Marie Hodson. Hodson and Victorian Golden Guitar winner Wendy Phypers (The Sparnetts/The Cartwheels) will present their salute to leading country ladies Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee, before taking the show on tour to Queensland and beyond with a hot band in tow.
It wouldn’t be Hats Off to Country without the ever-popular Don Costa presenting two shows daily at Tamworth Shoppingworld. The shopping centre king will also appear at the newest venue in town – the Cattleman Steakhouse. The entertainment at the Cattleman begins with a CD launch of Peter (Smokie) Dawson on Hats Off eve, Wednesday, July 6, followed each evening by artists including Cassidy-Rae Wilson and Ryan Sampson.
Tamworth’s pub scene is well and truly buzzing with live music. The Golden Guitar-winning Adam Eckersley Band will perform at The Albert, along with the lovely Brooke McClymont as special guest artist.
Rising star Missy Lancaster, a grand finalist in Toyota Star Maker this year, will deliver her sassy style of country at The Post Office Hotel, where Tamworth Songwriters’ Association members perform throughout the day.
Mike Vee and The Viper Creek Band will be heard cranking out the tunes from The Longyard Hotel, while those keen to see Chad Morgan immortalised in bronze will be at Southgate Inn for a bronze bust fundraising event, hosted by the Australian Bush Balladeers Association.
Along the Armidale Rd, you’ll find the Oasis Hotel – a true haven for those with a penchant for traditional and bush ballad-style music with an atmosphere you just can’t beat.
Cascada Restaurant, on the Sydney Highway opposite AELEC, will serve up some country with your meal over the weekend too.
This midyear festival in the Country Music Capital is a seasonal favourite for those who prefer enjoying their country in cooler conditions than the 40-degree heat of Tamworth in January.
Tamworth Stakeholders’ chairman Max Ellis said the organisation’s partnership with council could only serve to grow the winter festival. “I’m delighted that Tamworth Regional Council is now working closely with Tamworth Stakeholders on Hats Off to Country,” Mr Ellis said. “We are certain now, that after 17 years, the future is secured and we can look forward to Hats Off becoming bigger and better. It’s another great reason to draw people to the home of country music in Australia.”
Tamworth Regional Council country music unit manager Barry Harley said the success of Hats Off was something quite remarkable, considering it’s the “baby sister” to the much larger January event. “Isn’t it extraordinary that Hats Off, which really pales into insignificance compared to January, can still boast more artists than any other festival in Australia,” Mr Harley said.
Hats Off (or on, it really doesn’t matter), as long as you make tracks for Tamworth in July for Toyota Hats Off to Country 2016 – and don’t forget to bring your winter woolies with you!
Hat's Off almost here!
The annual Hats Off To Country festival proudly hosted by Tamworth City Toyota will run in the Country Music Capital from Wednesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 5.
ROUND MOUNTAIN GIRLS, CARTER EDWARDS, SIMPLY BUSHED, LUKE AUSTEN, LIBBY O'DONOVAN, COL FINLEY, MICHAEL BRYERS, SHANE TEINAKI, RYAN MORRIS, THE RAIN'S KEL CORK and ALEYCE SIMMONDS are just a few of the names added to the already star-studded familiar list who will perform at the festival this year.
The list also includes BECCY COLE, FELICITY URQUHART, 2015 TOYOTA STAR MAKER WINNER MICKEY PYE, ALLAN CASWELL, TAMARA STEWART, KEVIN BENNETT, MIKE CARR, THE VIPER CREEK BAND, BROTHERS3, ALBY POOL, MATT CORNELL, BUDDY GOODE, SHAZA LEIGH AND LINDSAY BUTLER SHOW, DON COSTA, MIKE VEE, KARL BROADIE and LACHLAN BRYAN.
Beccy Cole will headline the festival at West Tamworth League Club on Saturday July 4 on the back of her new album, Sweet Rebecca, and self-penned Poster Girl memoir release. The Beccy Cole show introduces Libby O'Donovan and two Toyota Star Maker winners, Golden Guitar winner Luke Austen and the current winner Mickey Pye.
In addition to the Saturday night concert, the Wests Entertainment Group has programmed a huge variety of events at both clubs – West Tamworth League Club and Wests' Diggers keeping fans entertained with Buddy Goode, Don Costa, Mike Carr and Matt Cornell, Two Gals, the Shaza Leigh and Lindsay Butler Show and Dare 2 Dance Linedancers 17th Birthday Social.
The DAG Sheep Station in Nundle will host the annual Songwriters' Retreat, concerts and Christmas in July with more Golden Guitar winners in the one place at the one time during the festival including Allan Caswell, Felicity Urquhart, Karl Broadie, Tamara Stewart, Aleyce Simmonds, Lachlan Bryan and Kevin Bennett. All inquiries and bookings can be made direct to the venue.
From 8.30pm 'til late on both Friday and Saturday nights, The Viper Creek Band will take festival goers into the night at the Longyard Hotel. This year's Toyota Star Maker winner Mickey Pye will launch his first single at The Longyard on Saturday July 4 from 6-7pm so stick around for a party "pie" to celebrate the occasion and from 11am to 2pm Sunday join the Tamworth Songwriters' Association for their Songwriters Over Lunch sessions before artist-to-watch Ryan Morris sings you home from 3pm.
Award-winning venue The Pub on the Gunnedah Road is the place for authentic country with Marie Hodson & The Bootleggers Band from 8pm on Friday July 3 and there'll be mayhem and chaos from 4pm on Saturday July 4 with Australia's Got Talent stars Brothers3.
The Australian Bush Balladeers Association presents the final fundraiser for the Jimmy Little Bronze Bust at the Southgate Inn on Saturday from 1pm.
The South Tamworth Bowling Club has a jam-packed program of genuine country artists Alby Pool, Anthony Taylor, Don Costa, Dan Murphy, James Stewart Keene and Brad Marks Acoustic Sessions, Darren Carr and the CCMA's All Women Salute to Anne Kirkpatrick with stars Tracy Coster, Allison Forbes, Christina George, Lynette Guest, Johanna Hemara, Patti Morgan and Sally-Anne Whitten.
The CCMA alsoi has its regular monthly Jam at the Family Hotel from 7 on Thursday night while the Albert Hotel presents their weekly Musos' Jam the same night from 9pm. The Albert is also bringing The Round Mountain Girls down from the hills to headline two big nights – Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4 from 8.30pm.
The Servies Group is bringing in some Australian culture with Simply Bushed performing over two nights Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4 at the Tamworth Services Club and get on down to the North Tamworth Bowling Club for Shane Teinaki from 8pm on Friday. Col Finley, Kel Cork and Michael Bryers have one session on Saturday and one Sunday.
The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame will open its doors for the first time since relocating to the old Visitor Information Centre at 561 Peel Street on the corner of Peel and Murray Streets from Thursday through to Sunday.
The July program is slight when compared to the January festival but with nearly 100 artists over four days it’s as important and relevant as the list of festivals throughout Australia. It won't take you long to get hooked on all that Hats Off has to experience.
The festival is organised by a dedicated task force operating under the banner of the Tamworth Country Music Stakeholders Group and is sponsored by Toyota and Destination Tamworth, together with a group of regional venue operators.
The 2015 festival will run from Thursday, July 2 to Sunday, July 5 and will include a huge weekend packed with entertainment and festival activities. Everyone is welcome to the Tamworth City Toyota Sausage Sizzle on Saturday morning, July 4 from 10am with local radio 88.9FM broadcasting live from the site until 1pm.
The full list of venues, artists and activities are listed on the program available on this website and accommodation and visitor information can be found at www.destinationtamworth.com.au or phone them on 02 6767 5300.
Hat's Off To Country 2015
Tamworth continues its place as Australia’s Country Music Capital with its mid-year country festival HATS OFF TO COUNTRY confirming a line-up to be envious of for a winter delivery.
BECCY COLE, FELICITY URQUHART, ALLAN CASWELL, TAMARA STEWART, MIKE CARR, LUKE AUSTEN, THE VIPER CREEK BAND, ROUND MOUNTAIN GIRLS, BROTHERS3, ALBY POOL, MATT CORNELL, SHAZA LEIGH, DON COSTA and MIKE VEE are just some of the familiar names confirmed to perform at the festival this year in addition to Songwriter Showcases, tributes and the plethora of country music attractions found in the Down Under country mecca.
Beccy Cole will return as the headline act of the festival on the back of her new album, Sweet Rebecca, and self-penned Poster Girl memoir release. As a proven favourite of Australian country fans, Beccy’s inclusion at Hats Off 2015 is sure to draw a wide audience to Tamworth to experience all elements of the festival. Beccy Cole will perform at West Tamworth League Club on Saturday, July 4, 2015.
The DAG Sheep Station in Nundle will host the annual Songwriters’ Retreat, concerts and Christmas in July. All inquiries can be made direct to the venue.
Hats Off 2015 is sponsored once again by Toyota and Destination Tamworth, together with a number of Tamworth businesses and organisations.
The 2014 festival saw more than 100 artists and musicians perform at venues throughout the Tamworth region for the midyear event, which is a scaled-down, intimate festival offering a selection of all styles of country music, with a focus on songwriters.
Regular visitors to the annual January Country Music Festival will find the streets of Tamworth easier to navigate in the cooler climes of July, with the atmosphere created by layering, warm smiles and cosy, open fires a much more relaxed affair than the heat of January.
The 2015 festival will run from Thursday, July 2 to Sunday, July 5 and will include a huge weekend packed with entertainment and festival activities.
This year's Toyota Star Maker winner Mickey Pye, from Bathurst, will launch his first single at the Longyard Hotel on Saturday from 6.30pm. Make sure you stick around afterwards for The Viper Creek Band to country rock up your Saturday evening.
In addition to the Saturday night concert, the Wests Entertainment Group will run a substantial program of events at both of its clubs – West Tamworth League Club and Wests’ Diggers.
The Pub Group, which now comprises The Pub, Southgate Inn, the Good Companions and the famous Longyard Hotel, will feature a diverse program of events.
Entertainment is expected at many other entertainment venues in town, including pubs and clubs and attractions like the Big Golden Guitar.
The Bronze Bust Committee will continue to raise funds for the Jimmy Little bust with a concert at Southgate Inn. Once complete, the Jimmy Little bronze bust will join the other country music luminaries in Bicentennial Park, in the leafy heart of Tamworth.
The South Tamworth Bowling Club will host some of the greats with Alby Pool, Anthony Taylor, Don Costa and more.
Organisers recommend booking accommodation early. In 2014, thousands of festivalgoers attended over 100 individual events featuring 60 or more artists through the Tamworth region.
The 2015 event is set to surpass this. From clubs, pubs, shopping centres and even Tamworth’s main street, music is set to be played for all, even if singlets and T-shirts are replaced by woolly jumpers.For real country music fans, the Hats Off To Country festival provides audience members the opportunity to get up close and personal with artists.
The festival is organised by a dedicated task force operating under the banner of the Tamworth Stakeholders Group.