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92.9fm Regional News

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Goalposts Shift as Tamworth Country Music Festival Scores Own Goal

For 50 years, the Tamworth Country Music Festival has been a mainstay of local’s lives.

Every January, the CBD would be cut off and a barrage of country music icons, hopeful upstarts, marketeers, and huge corporations descend upon Tamworth to celebrate anything and everything country music.

10 days of live music, stalls, fairground rides, buskers, shows, and pub crawls made up both tourists Tamworth-ians lives, at least, it did before the now tiring SARS-CoV 2 virus hit, aka, COVID-19.

Being cancelled last year was a huge blow to the local economy, losing around $50-$60 Million in revenue, but it was a necessary cancellation to stop the growing outbreak, before vaccinations.

Now, following the 3-month lockdown which saw NSW curb the delta COVID-19 variant, we as a state skyrocketed our vaccination rates, sitting at just under 95% double vaccinated.

We now are braving the surge in Omicron variant infections, with the State Government bringing in a ban on singing and dancing in venues as of Friday the 7th of January.

A crisis meeting between the heads of the festival, Mayor Russell Webb, Deputy Mayor Mark Rodda and Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson saw the landmark decision to postpone the festival until April 18th.

With campers already set up here in town, prices of motel rooms skyrocketing, homelessness on the rise and artists left out of pocket, the situation for January seems dire.

Without seeming too cynical, the goalposts seem to shift constantly. We were told that when we hit the vaccination target, we would return to a sense of normalcy.

We knew infections would skyrocket, that’s what happens when a population is vaccinated.

Anger is spreading as rapidly as the virus. From Rapid Antigen tests being a hot commodity, to an absent Prime Minister (nothing unusual there), and a healthcare system about to buckle, people are rightfully angry.

The anger only gets worse with the festival now being eyed for April. So, who do we blame? Can we even blame anyone? Or is it that we’ve become so used to bad news because of this virus, we shouldn’t be surprised at the Government’s vendetta against fun.

Anger is spreading, and to repurpose the infamous Kerry Chant COVID modelling updates, we’ll see the peak in April.

Written by Chris Kaloustian


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