Arts & Entertainment

A Family Tradition

The McClymonts (L-R: Millie, Brooke & Sam McClymont)

Country music has become so broad now that everyone can find something to enjoy  during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2020.

This January the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) will once again see music fans of all ages and ilks head westward for 10 incredible days of music. Throughout the course of the festival visitors from around the globe flock to the regional city, causing its population to double.

However, it’s not just music fans that descend upon Tamworth. During the course of the 10 days, musicians from all stages of their careers arrive in Tamworth to perform, catch up with friends and most importantly to set the tone for the remainder of their year.

This year’s Toyota Country Music Festival Ambassadors The McClymonts have been attending TCMF for over two decades.

“We were going to the festival long before we even sang,” recalled Sam McClymont, “Growing up in Grafton it’s not too far away and our parents loved country music. So we used to hop into the car, head over to the festival and walk down the streets watching the buskers or going to the free shows in the park.”

These early childhood experiences set the trio of sisters on a path that would inevitably see them doing everything possible at TCMF. Rising from busking on the streets to entering the Capital Country Music Association (CCMA) Talent Quest to pub/club gigs and finally performing at the biggest venue in town, the Tamworth Regional Entertainment & Conference Centre (TRECC). Who knows, without the TCMF perhaps The McClymonts wouldn’t be where they are today.

“We were those kids who had autograph books and would line up after the artists got off stage to get our book signed. We loved listening to our cassette tapes heading to or from the festival and it really became a major part of our lives, so it’s pretty surreal to now come full circle.”

On the other end of the scale is rising youngster Billie Rose, who is just now getting opportunities to perform on the bigger platfomr of the TCMF Fanzone stage.

“To go from busking to now getting opportunities to play at places like Fanzone is amazing. These shows are where you realise that the grinding as an artist is moving your career forward,” explained Rose.

When both McClymont and Rose speak about the festival it is obvious that it holds a very special place in their hearts. Something which is exemplified by the fact that The McClymonts will even be performing in 2020 given that Brooke McClymont will be nine months pregnant.

“We’ve had to move our show over to the first week because Brooke will be heavily pregnant, explained Sam before adding, “But of course we’re making her come to do the first week at least because it’s Tamworth after all and you can’t miss it!”

According to McClymont, the festival is so special because it has such a rich history and tradition.

“Tamworth has worked really hard at keeping that festival spirit alive, it hasn’t waned at all. The festival is still packed every year because they keep it all about the artists, especially the up and coming performers and buskers. But they also have the shows for the entertainers who have been around for a long time. So there is a really nice mixture for everyone to go and see. If you want to just watch free shows you can. If you want to pay to see specific people you can.”

The broadness of the festival is another key aspect of its uniqueness explained Rose. “You don’t have to just be a country fan. The umbrella of country music now is so broad, you have folk, alternative, traditional and modern so it caters to everyone. If someone loves a good time and music they’re definitely going to find that in Tamworth.”

In terms of highlights throughout the festival, City Hub recommends checking out both The McClymonts and Billie Rose. The ladies though recommend that attendees do not miss the Toyota Star Maker concert as that is where you will undoubtedly see “the next big thing.”

Given that the festival takes place in Western New South Wales in the peak of Summer there are some special insider tricks to ensure you enjoy the festival to its fullest.

Sam McClymont says, “Sometimes it’s 40 degrees, so be prepared for the heat. If you go in with that headspace of knowing that it’s going to be hot you’ll be ok. Just make sure you have a hat, sunnies and water or a beer. As long as you keep hydrated any way you like you’ll be right.”

Bille Rose suggested, “renting a place, so that you have your own homely base rather than a motel. Also, go for the whole ten days and to as many shows as you can!”

In general though Sam McClymont summed it up perfectly, “You just have to go and experience TCMF once and then you’ll be back again.”

Tamworth Country Music Festival

Jan 17-26. Tamworth, NSW. More Info: www.tcmf.com.au

The McClymonts

Jan 17. Tamworth Town Hall, Fitzroy St, Tamworth. $29.90-$54.90+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.trecc.com.au 

Billie Rose

Jan 24. The Welder’s Dog, 37 Dowe St, Tamworth. 

Jan 25.  Fanzone Stage. FREE. More Info: www.tcmf.com.au

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