Arriving at the Tamworth Carlton Country Music Festival this year, I spotted an Internet Kiosk machine at a service station on the way into town. A good sign, and notice that things might be a little more 'cyber' this year! Indeed, they were. Most significantly, John Nutting's broadcast of the 28th Toyota Country Music Awards of Australia, was relayed to the world via the ABC Radio Web site. This made the audio of the night available in real time, anywhere around the globe. A very exciting development for fans and the industry members who would otherwise have been geographically deprived of this fabulous night.
The CMAA also joined with Telstra and Toyota to present Australia's first official 'Australian Country On-line Star Chat'. During the last five weekdays of the festival, nine stars spent thirty minutes each communicating with fans over the Internet. Greg Champion, Darren Coggan, Adam Harvey, Shanley Del, Gina Jeffreys, Sherrié Austin, Jane Saunders, Adam Brand and the legendary Jimmy Little all took part. The results can still be read on-line in the Chat archives. It is planned that The Australian Country Music Chat Room will become a permanent feature of the CMAA Web site.
During the Festival, both the CMAA and NfS Publicity Web sites kept a steady update of news and the various Award results. There was plenty of computer action behind the scenes as well. I know I wasn't the only one uploading Festival snaps. You can view my Festival Photo Album via the Cowboys In Cybersp@ce site. Here you'll see just a small taste of the action, from FanFest to Greg Champion's Pool Party where Champs launched his new album 'Stand Back Australia', visitors from the U.S., and some of the award winners. Special thanks here to COLOUR-FIX Television and Video Service in West Tamworth who repaired my digital camera in a flash (pun intended)! Also post Tamworth, at the Cool Country Lounge, the Web site of Ken Date (self-styled 'Sydney's coolest country DJ'), you can read the full Ken's-eye view of the Festival. Ken also has an accurate program guide to all the weekly Country Music programs on 2RRR-FM. Also don't miss the Tamworth photos at Tania Kernaghan's Web site, which include brother Lee's 'Rules Of The Road' album launch in the middle of town! At Limberlost Services, Allan J. Tompkins has a great bunch of photos of the Festival on display, including many Bush Balladeers. Limberlost Services created the excellent 'Australian Country Festival Personalities' set of Collector Cards a while back. They are still available by Mail-Order from their Web site at a bargain price.
pictured in the audience at
The Basement show of
Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison
and The Swing Katz
Over at the Tomkins Custom Guitars and Basses Web site there is a great photomontage of many of the guest artists who appeared at the Tomkins Showcase this year. You can check out the instruments they played, and see why Tomkins are now becoming popular Internationally. MCA-Nashville/Universal recording artist Gary Allan is the latest visitor to take a Tomkins home. Allan was certainly a big hit at the Festival this year, especially with the ladies. His forthcoming single, 'Runaway', from his current album 'Smoke Rings In The Dark' proved very popular at his concerts. At the Gary Allan Web site you can check out the message board that contains reports of his shows by Australian fans - news that was eagerly received by their U.S. counterparts. Follow the link to his pages at the MCA-Nashville site for a very impressive graphical interface. Word is that we'll be seeing Gary Allan and his Tompkins guitar again very soon.
This year in Tamworth, once again the band to see was The Flood (pictured, right). Their new single is great value for anyone with a computer. Everyone gets three songs, which includes two bonus audio tracks that don't appear on their album 'The Ballad of K.B.'. Put the CD in your computer and you can watch the video of the title song 'Don't Look Back At Me' right there on your screen. A real plus for fans of The Flood. Multimedia is also playing a part in the 'Australia Sold On Country' campaign - the joint industry promotion by the CMAA, the American CMA and CMT. The live event that promoted Country Music to the nation's corporate sector has now been converted into an excellent CD-Rom presentation. This will no doubt aid in the continued push by these industry bodies to raise the awareness of Country Music to a higher level.
'The Pub' is not only one of the best venues in Tamworth, it's Web site gave excellent coverage of its Festival line-up which included the very popular 'Bill & Audrey's Hillbilly Jam' and late night sessions with Peter Busher and The Swing Katz. The shows included many guest spots that included the likes of Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, and Gary Allan. Expect to see details of forthcoming shows throughout the year at 'The Pub' Web site. Finally, and still looking forward, the Tamworth Direct Web Directory has begun a remarkably useful service. As well as all the other excellent information at the site, you can now advertise your housing needs for the Carlton Country Music Festival 2001 in the Tamworth Direct Accommodation Directory and await replies from willing homeowners.
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