It’s hard to believe, but 2022 marks 50 years since the inception of the world-renowned Tamworth Country Music Festival. To celebrate such a monumental milestone, we’ve decided to take a look back at the beloved annual event.

Close your eyes for a moment and think back to your own memories of the Tamworth Country Music Festival. If you’ve previously been, then you’re likely reminiscing on some of the best concert experiences you’ve had, if you haven’t, you’re possibly recalling time spent hearing about some of the country’s most iconic musicians and how their performances at the festival are amongst some of the best and most important of their career.

But how did it all begin? How did the Tamworth Country Music Festival become the second biggest country music festival in the world? Well, to answer that one, we have to go back to the late ’60s, when the Modern Country Music Association’s Tamworth branch launched a talent quest that would soon evolve into the festival that we know today.

With radio station 2TM launching the Australasian Country Music Awards in January of 1973, it kicked things off properly, with Joy McKean receiving the Golden Guitar Award for writing the Slim Dusty song, ‘Lights On The Hill’.

From there, the Golden Guitar Awards soon became an integral part of the annual festival of country music, showcasing the best and brightest that the genre has to offer. Even if you weren’t always a country music fan, the chances are pretty good that the knowledge of the Golden Guitar Awards would precede things, with over 500 of the titular trophies being handed out over the years. In fact, local country icon Slim Dusty was the most prolific winner of the award, receiving 38 total trophies across his storied career.

Check out how Tamworth Country Music Festival has changed

“For over 30 years the Golden Guitar Awards have captured the imagination of millions of Australians, forming the foundation for Tamworth’s famous festival and inspiring generations of country music artists and their fans,” explained festival founder Max Ellis.

But the Golden Guitar Awards aren’t the entirety of the festival, with countless stellar artists finding themselves performing to hundreds of thousands of punters across the festival’s five-decade history. In addition to helping put the town of Tamworth on the global map every year, it’s become something of a rite of passage for aspiring country artists to perform there.

Whether they’re on the bill themselves or simply turning up to busk, share tunes, or raise their own profile, it’s become a breeding ground for local and international talent and success. After all, could you imagine names such as Gina Jefferys, Kasey Chambers, Lee Kernaghan, Adam Harvey, or Beccy Cole not having the sort of ubiquitous musical star-power that they have now? If not for the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the fact is that we might never have seem them become iconic local artists.

Sadly, the festival’s almost unstoppable run was stunted (albeit briefly) in 2021 thanks to COVID. Though they got to hold the full festival in 2020, the year the outbreak began, it was the 2021 event that wasn’t quite so lucky. Scaling down the event for the first time in its history, with a smaller audience for the Golden Guitar Awards and a greater focus on the online streaming of the awards.

Now, after postponing their 50th anniversary celebrations to April of 2022 to ensure they’re given their full dues, the Tamworth Country Music Festival is back in a big way. Not only are they giving attendees the chance to be a part of history being made as they unveil a bronze statue of festival mainstay John Williamson, but this year’s Golden Guitar Awards will see Troy Cassar-Daley entering the record books.

Set to be awarded the Golden Guitar Award for the top selling Australian country music album of 2021, Cassar-Daley will match Slim Dusty and Lee Kerneghan’s record of 38 Golden Guitars, and further cement his status as a country music icon.

But that’s not all, in addition to giving attendees the chance to witness local country music history with those events, the festival has also unveiled a truly monumental lineup that country fans won’t want to miss.

In addition to icons such as Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Ian Moss, and James Blundell, fans will also get the chance to see the likes of Fanny Lumsden, Busby Marou, Darlinghurst, and countless others.

The Tamworth Country Music Festival might have 50 years of history behind it, but truly, they’re just getting started, and they want you to be part of it. Check out all the details for this year’s festivities below.

Tamworth Country Music Festival 2022

4 Highwaymen
Adam Brand
Adam Eckersley & Brook McClymont
Adam Eckersley Band
Adam Harvey
Allan Caswell
Amber Lawrence
Anne Kirkpatrick
Ashleigh Dallas
Buddy Goode
Carter & Carter
Casey Barnes
Catherine Britt
Chad Morgan
Chris Callaghan
Christie Lamb
Darren Coggan
David Kirkpatrick
Dianne Lindsay
Fanny Lumsden
Felicity Urquhart
Gina Jeffreys
Graeme Connors
Hayley Jensen
Hillbilly Goats
James Blundell
Jayne Denham
Jeff Brown
John Williamson
Kasey Chambers
Kirsty Lee Akers
Lyn Bowtell
Melinda Schneider
Melissa Bajric
Melody Moko
Pete Denahy
Peter Simpson
Reg Poole
Sara Storer
Shane Nicholson
The Buckleys
The Bushwackers
The Pigs
The Viper Creek Band
The Wolfe Brothers
Travis Collins
Troy Cassar-Daley

Monday, April 18th, 2022 – Sunday, April 24th, 2022
Tamworth, NSW
Tickets: Tamworth Country Music Festival

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