Tamworth’s regional councillors have voted to suspend all council-run events for the 2021 Toyota Country Music Festival.
With the current public health orders in place, which include the prohibition of music festivals and mass gatherings, coupled with travel restrictions and venue capacity challenges, councillors could not in good conscience vote to proceed with the event, according to a statement issued on the festival’s website.
“Today is a sad day, not only for Tamworth, but for the artists and the country music industry,” festival manager Barry Harley said.
“We have remained as optimistic as we could and continued with our planning in the hope that conditions would ease.
“Unfortunately, like so many others in our situation, we have had to surrender to the challenges COVID has placed on us and make the difficult decision to suspend TCMF2021.”
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said: “It is hard to believe that we have had to make this decision, and it most certainly has not been an easy decision to make.
“Still, the impacts of introducing COVID-19 to our community far outweigh the impacts cancelling the festival would have on our community.”
While the festival itself will not proceed in 2021, the annual presentation of the Country Music Awards of Australia, the Toyota Golden Guitar Awards, will still go ahead.
The longest-standing music awards in the country will be delivered via an online stream on the night, and the ABC will continue to be the broadcast partner for the event.
“It is important that we continue to recognise country music talent at the 49th Toyota Golden Guitar Awards, despite not being able to hold a live event,” Harley said.
“Artists have faced an extremely challenging year, but many have continued to work hard and release new music, under the most difficult of circumstances, and we want to pay tribute to them by hosting a remarkable event that is streamed far and wide so that everyone can experience the best of Australian country music.”
Harley said the Toyota Country Music Festival will be back to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.
Featured image source: Toyota Country Music Festival Tamworth