The New South Wales Government’s snap decision to impose restrictions on singing and dancing in hospitality venues last week prompted the Tamworth Country Music Festival’s start date to be shifted until April 18, thereby pitting the music of the likes of Slim Dusty against the King of Rock and Roll.
Riverina MP Michael McCormack, whose electorate includes Parkes, channelled the King of Rock and Roll in describing Tamworth’s date change move as a ‘hound dog of an act’.
“Some in Parkes are saying Tamworth are ‘the devil in disguise’ for this, they’ve really had their blue suede shoes trodden on, and they’re all shook up,” the former Deputy Prime Minister told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s a shame … they’re both on the radar of government tourism bodies and a simple phone call could have avoided this.”
He said although the towns aren’t next to each other … in fact, they are more than 400kms apart …. there are still only so many visitors to go around in New South Wales.
Orange state MP Phil Donato agreed, telling the Daily Telegraph it was poor planning from the Tamworth Music Festival.
“It’ll hurt them both … a lot of people — caravanners, grey nomads, retirees — would go to both,” he said. “It would have been great to have one leading to the other over consecutive weekends but now they’re going to be competing against each other, it’s very disappointing.”
Parkes organisers say the move has already resulted in bookings being withdrawn, leading to fears of the economic fallout of a festival which brought in more than 20,000 visitors and $13 million when it was last held in 2020.
In a statement, Tamworth Mayor Russell Webb said country music organisers ‘simply did not have time to consult or call’ Elvis Festival organisers.
“I totally understand the disappointment from Parkes that the Elvis Festival and our event overlap but unfortunately it simply could not be avoided,’’ Cr Webb said, insisting “Parkes does not need to worry – there is enough difference between the two events to appeal to different audiences”.