Hats Off to cool festival

Two of the biggest names in Australian country music will, this year, headline Tamworth’s cool midyear festival – Hats Off to Country which will take place in Tamworth over four days from Thursday 6 July to Sunday 9 July.

Multiple Golden Guitar winners and great mates Beccy Cole and Adam Harvey have included Tamworth Town Hall on their Great Country Songbook Volume 3 tour, playing the iconic venue on Friday, 7 July. Supporting the dynamic duo will be everybody’s favourite player, Duncan Toombs, whose debut Steel on Steel album is opening doors for him everywhere; and Tamworth’s own Loren Ryan, the 2023 Toyota Star Maker winner. Tickets are on sale now.

Hometown lad Lane Pittman who took out the Best of the Buskers title at this year’s Toyota Country Music Festival is a man on a mission. The young entertainer has already gained national recognition on The Voice in 2022 and will be opening the show for U.S. country sensation Luke Combs on his sold-out national tour of Australia and New Zealand in August. Lane is hoping his hometown fans will come out to send him and his band off on the road in style at The Pub, on Saturday, July 8.

Travis List, direct from Nashville, Tennessee is another one to watch out for presenting two big band shows at West Tamworth League Club to celebrate his homecoming tour.

Tamworth Regional Council’s Country Music Coordinator Cheryl Brown said; “The heat of January is a far cry from the cool change you’ll experience in Tamworth in July so, if you’re not a fan of the heat, you can get a real taste of country in much cooler circumstances at this 23-year-old festival.”

Returning to Hats Off is the popular Cowboy Crawl taking crawlers to a range of venues with live music by coach on Saturday night. It’s perfect for singles, couples or groups as everyone leaves with new friends.

A variety of venues right across the region are keen to welcome patrons back for “the cuddly festival” fondly named by Golden Guitar winning musician Lawrie Minson in its first year.

The Press Basement Bar will be welcoming Lawrie and wife Shelley as part of the midyear fun as well as Brooke Harvey and Allison Forbes’ Birthday Bash show.

Wests’ Diggers brings you Hunter Valley band The Versatiles on Friday night and Katie Jayne, 2022 Star Maker Top 10 finalist, will rock it out with her band on Saturday night.

The West Tamworth League Club have a fantastic line up including Dan Murphy and band, Travis List, Lawrie & Shelly Minson with more to be announced.

The Tamworth Hotel has jumped right into Hats Off with three shows, singer-songwriter JB Paterson, Good Corn Liquor and the best bar band in the country, CK & The 45s.

The Longyard Hotel will be the place to be for all the grooves with local party band Savage Groove featuring Johanna Hemara, Kym Beare, John Lee and Rob Bennic on Friday night and on Saturday, Queensland country rock artist Jeremy Turner will heat up the room and to finish off the weekend catch an acoustic set from Daniel Thornton before Splashpool featuring Kevin Anderson, Sally-Anne Whitten, Rae Moody, Alwyn Aurisch, Kym Beare, Dave “Stixy” Adams hit the stage.

Fans of traditional country music will no doubt have their tickets sorted for the Australian Bush Balladeers’ Association’s only concert of the festival on Sunday at Moonshiners’ Honky Tonk Bar, at the Family Hotel. Appearing on the bill will be Tom Chesterfield, Lynette Guest, Rodney Walker, Anthony Baxter, Lorraine Pfitzner, Lyn and Phil Manning, Ron Lynch, Greg Bain and Patti Morgan, with Lorraine Pfitzner OAM the emcee. Another nod to tradition and not to miss, is The Pub Balladeers, hosted by Brian “Howdy” Howard on Friday, July 7 at The Pub.

The Oasis Hotel, Tamworth City Bowling Club, The Pub and Post Office Hotel will all host the Tamworth Songwriters Association Showcases on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a big line up of talented artists including Paul Ricketts, Jake Murdoch, Owen Smith, Andrew & Amy Ryan, Brendan McMahon, Mem Davis, Beth Lucas, Studio 8, Joel Bear McKay, Kylie Adams-Collier, Craig Lloyd, Suz Dorahy, Peter Salata, Dunc & Sue, Sandy Louise, Frecko, What She’s Having, Sandy Louise and Cec Peterson.

The Tudor Hotel opens its doors to Country Karaoke on Thursday night, with Tamworth songbird Sally-Anne Whitten Band on Friday night, and the Autumn Blues Band Saturday following their spot at Joe Maguire’s Hotel.

The Nemingha Tavern, one of the first venues in town to have country music, presents on Friday night, female singer-songwriter Teak, who is known through her 2015 Top 12 Finals appearance on The Voice aswell as Bowraville singer-songwriter Graham Howle on Saturday and local country artist Dale Hooper for the Sunday session.

The Courthouse Hotel has free country music over the festival weekend with Daniel Thornton solo acoustic on Friday night and Mr Entertainment Ryan Sampson, Saturday night.

Any budding musicians who haven’t got a gig but are interested in performing are encouraged to head along to The Atrium Arcade for their Walk-Up sessions on Friday and Saturday from 10am to 2pm.

Chances are any venue you drop into in Tamworth will have live music playing at this very cool winter festival where rugging up is the way we roll!

More venues are still to finalise their programs so keep an eye on the website, www.hatsofftocountry.com.au for details of more shows as they are rolled out.

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