Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

baris­tas and even five-star camp­ing op­tions. The fes­ti­val typ­i­cally at­tracts a world-class line-up of in­ter­na­tional and na­tional artists and more than 300 acts across seven stages. Aus­tralian acts Lee Ker­naghan, Beccy Cole, The McC­ly­monts, Kasey Cham­bers, John Wil­liamson and Josh Pyke are reg­u­lars.

Gympie Mu­sic Muster isn’t just your run-of-the-mill profit-mak­ing, charge$7-for-warm-bot­tled-wa­ter type of fes­ti­val. It’s got a heart as big as its grounds, hav­ing do­nated funds to com­mu­nity groups and char­i­ties for the past 34 years. Tick­ets: $320, plus book­ing fee, for adult four-day passes. Fam­ily tick­ets avail­able. See muster.com.au

The sec­ond-big­gest coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val in the world af­ter Nashville is held in Tam­worth, in the north­west­ern table­lands of NSW, each Jan­uary.

At­tract­ing up to 100,000 coun­try mu­sic fans from all over the world, it’s also the long­est fes­ti­val, run­ning for more than two weeks over Aus­tralia Day in late Jan­uary, with as many as 4000 shows on 150 stages in pubs, clubs and venues around Tam­worth.

It show­cases Aus­tralian coun­try mu­sic tal­ent, ev­ery­thing from clas­sic coun­try to blue­grass, coun­try rock, ur­ban coun­try, alt-coun­try rock­a­billy, western swing, coun­try rock, and blues.

At­trac­tions in­clude the Big Golden Guitar, the Coun­try Mu­sic Wax Mu­seum and the Hands of Fame park. Artists, street per­form­ers and mar­kets draw large crowds to Peel St, which is closed dur­ing the fes­ti­val.

The Coun­try Mu­sic Cav­al­cade on the last Satur­day at­tracts large crowds to the pa­rade. High­light is the Golden Guitar Awards.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion is in home­s­tays, ho­tels and mo­tels, camp­ing and car­a­van parks. Dates Jan­uary 15-24, with head­lin­ers in­clud­ing Lee Ker­naghan, Beccy Cole and The McC­ly­monts. Early-bird tick­ets on sale now. See tam­worth­coun­try­mu­sic.com.au and the visi­tor cen­tre trc@tam­worth.new.gov.au

Wood­ford pic­ture:

TUNE IN: (clock­wise from main) Crowds at Splen­dour in the Grass; the Wood­ford Folk Fes­ti­val am­phithe­atre; blow­ing bub­bles be­tween shows at Lost Par­adise; and Lee Ker­naghan leads the cav­al­cade down Peel St at the Tam­worth Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val. Martin Oll­man

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