Well, the Tamworth Country Music Festival is now almost finished. As you might expect, some of the best coverage is in the Northern Daily Leader and I have been reading it with interest.
I have never actually been to the Festival. This may sound strange given its size and its proximity to Armidale where I lived for so many years. Part of the reason is that my family does not like country music and hence does not want to go. I do, but it is very much a minority taste in this family.
The big issue this year at Tamworth that just seemed to run and run and run was the inclusion of non-country elements in the Festival including especially a concert including Australian idol winner and now pop star Guy Sebastian.
It wasn't until half way through the festival that Tamworth Mayor James Treloar (photo with singer Rod Dowsett and Tourism Tamworth's Rebel Thompson) put this one to rest. Tamworth is and would remain country.
It couldn't be any other way, really. However, I don't understand why the story ran in the way it did. There seemed to be internal political overtones among those interested and involved.
I was chatting to a muso friend last weekend. I commented that Tamworth and country music seemed to me to be the only event in Australia that provided something of an articulated career path within a popular singing genre. He agreed in general, but then gave me a quick education in the economics of music in general and country music in particular.
I had no idea just how little money a country singer made, nor of the overall impact of the internet on music. I did in fact know a little about the second, but far too little of the detail.
Something else I must find out more about. I am especially interested in music that in some way links to the New England story. L J Hill's Namoi Mud is an example.