Hats Off Comes of Age

Tuesday 30 June, 2020

The annual Hats Off to Country announces the line-up for its 21st birthday and online festival, commencing Thursday 9 July to Sunday 12 July with more than 80 artists and musicians involved.

Golden Guitar Winners Adam Harvey, Felicity Urquhart, Catherine Britt, Luke O'Shea, Aleyce Simmonds, Andrew Swift, Ashleigh Dallas, Blake O'Connor, Camille Te Nahu & Stuie French, Darren Coggan, John Krsulja, Kevin Bennett, Kristy Cox, Lachlan Bryan, Lawrie Minson, Lindsay Butley OAM, Matt Scullion, and Pete Denahy, all join the party, which will be celebrated over four days.

As the rules around COVID-19 continue to change, health restrictions in NSW have allowed venues to re-open, with protocols in place.

Whilst some venues will be open over the Hats Off To Country Festival weekend, most will not be in a position to have live entertainment, with the exception of the Wests Entertainment Group which will see The Two Vees live at Wests’ Diggers on Saturday, July 11 from 9:30pm to 12:30am, and from 2:30pm to 5pm the same day, Jarred Taylor will perform live in the Beer Garden at West Tamworth League Club.

Over the Hats Off weekend artists will perform a pre-recorded concert or a live performance, to be enjoyed by viewers all over the world. It’s completely free, with artists providing ‘tip jars’ and some fundraising taking place.

A GoFundMe page was set up for SaltBushSix band member Marlon Holden who was diagnosed in mid-March with secondary cancer, Metastatic Melanoma. The band’s Hats Off performance is a recording from their live concert in Tamworth in January 2020 at the Toyota Stars Under The Stars concert in Toyota Park. The band would like to take this opportunity to raise funds for Marlon.

Aussie expats Camille Te Nahu, Stuie French and Family, Kristy Cox and Travis List, and Katrina Burgoyne will join us from Nashville. The 2001 Star Maker winner Kieran Lancini will join from London and the 2020 Toyota Star Maker Sammy White will be singing songs from her upcoming album.

Eleven-times Golden Guitar award winner Luke O’Shea invites you to join him for his show that, under normal circumstances, would have been held at the North Tamworth Bowling Club. Join Luke at his dinner table as he shares the stories behind his songs on Friday night.

Actor and country artist Cameron Daddo, currently starring in Home & Away, is part of the Red Rebel Music Showcase that also features Catherine Britt, Darlinghurst, Kristy Cox, Chloe Styler, Kora Naughton, Bec Lavelle, Jem Cassar-Daley, Ingrid Mae and Kaitlyn Thomas.

HSF Artist Services present Songs & Stories from Southgate Inn with Blake O’Connor, Melanie Dyer, Casey Barnes, and Caitlyn Shadbolt. These are four of the hottest new artists on the scene, performing a live set on the Saturday night of the festival.

The Tamworth Hotel is presenting a line-up of Melbourne artists, some who’ve never performed at Hats Off, but who can this year, online. They are Hana and Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits, Katie Bates, Small Town Romance, Lachlan Bryan, Ben Mastwyk, Rose Zita Falko, Georgia State Line & Patrick Wilson, James Ellis and the Jealous Guys.

The Tamworth Songwriters’ Association call The Longyard, Post Office Hotel and Tamworth City Bowling Club home when they showcase in Tamworth. During Hats Off they will feature two songwriter rounds with members Ian Burns, Ben Ransom, Paul Grierson, Chris Reiger, John Krsulja, Lizzie Steadman, and Tony Kennelly, who’ve all recently released new material.

With over 50 years as a professional musician, Tamworth’s Lindsay Butler OAM, will perform together with Shaza Leigh. Lindsay has over 30 recorded albums of his own and has produced in excess of 1000 recordings. Shaza is the epitome of success in the Australian country music business as a singer, songwriter, musician and entrepreneur. The couple will be joined by musician Peg Gilchrist and will showcase their music from their LBS Musicland sanctuary.

There’s something for everyone this year. Tamworth’s Buddy Knox, is joined by his son Teangi, and nephew Bareki, who will deliver a Blues act spiced with the traditional didgeridoo; Tamworth travel agent Chris Watson shines a light on one of his many passions and teaches a beginner’s line-dancing class; Anthony Taylor will represent his home-away-from-home at the South Tamworth Bowling Club; Simply Bushed will go live for the Tamworth Services Club; and the 2020 Hogs Breath Talent Search winner Bella Mackenzie shares her songs.

There’s a tip of the hat to bush balladeers with a showcase filmed at the legendary Oasis Hotel by Steve Newton. Hats Off To Ballads is hosted by Brian “Howdy” Howard and features a full band with Dally Croft, Janelle Oxenbridge, Matt Parnell, Tom Manning and featuring balladeers Phil Manning, Graeme “Dubby” Doubleday, Henry “Possum” Hollis, young balladeer Tom Chesterfield, and the eldest balladeer 86-year-old Col Taylor, Lyn Manning, and Alan “Big Al” Herbert.

Organisers of the annual Country Under The Vines fundraiser held during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January each year have planned an online concert to fundraise for Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern NSW. Hats Off For Sick Kids will raise funds for the
house and will feature some of Australia’s top country stars including Adam Harvey, Darren Coggan, Kirsty Lee Akers, Jetty Road and others.

John Krsulja will host the annual Songwriters’ Retreat from The DAG Sheep Station in Nundle. The concert will feature Kevin Bennett, Jeremy Edwards and Felicity Urquhart, just three of the experienced tutors, along with previous attendees Montgomery Church, Dom Italiano, Brett Clarke, John Roza, Jason Kearney, Gretta Ziller, Kerrie Garside, Billie-Jo Porter and Kayla Martin.

The Pub Group’s representative Craig Power said; “Despite the grim time it’s been for venues and the arts, it’s been great to facilitate the recording opportunity for a number of the artists to perform at our venues in preparation for Hats Off.

“Our venues feature country music year-round and this Hats Off some of those artists will take to the stage again including Shelley & Lawrie Minson, Jarred Taylor and Jesse Vee (Hurricane Fall), young Charlie Fittler and The Viper Creek Band.”

Throughout the four-day festival viewers will catch a glimpse of some of the Tamworth region’s beautiful country music landmarks like the Hands of Fame Park, the Big Golden Guitar, the National Guitar Museum, the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame, and more

Coordinator Cheryl Brown said the festival is an event for everyone. “There’s something for everyone, with a spotlight on singer-songwriters.

“The interest in requests to be involved in the 21st Hats Off To Country has tripled since the announcement of the event. Artists are ready to perform again and this is a nice tip-toe back into performance for many of them.”

“We thank the artists for their participation and the venues for the year-round support of live country music.”

Check the program for your favourite artists and join in and support them however you can.

When to Watch:
Thursday and Friday from 7-10pm
Saturday from 9am to 10pm
Sunday from 9am to 9pm

How to Watch:
Tune in to the Hats Off To Country Facebook page
Follow us on our social media and tag your social media uploads.
“Like” our Facebook page and view the artists photos and bios at www.hatsofftocountry.com.au

Get Social!
While the performances are on join us using the hashtag #HatsOff2020 and @HatsOffToCountry comment on our Facebook posts.

Host a watch party!
Whether you're at home with friends or at a virtual Zoom party, the 21st Hats Off To Country festival is a great time to connect. We'd love to see how you and your friends get creative to join in so please share what you're up to and tag us @HatsOffToCountry.

View the 4-day program
Check out the program at www.hatsofftocountry.com.au

Tips & Fundraisers
Some artists have provided a link to a “tip jar” or an online fundraiser. All artists are happy for you to watch them for free but your “tip” will be welcomed.
** Tipping international artists - remember the amount you tip will depend on the exchange rate on the day. You may notice that your bank statement will reflect a different amount to what you tipped.


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