11 May 2017
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