TAMWORTH’S midyear festival, Toyota Hats Off to Country, is exactly eight weeks away.
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HEADLINER: Adam Harvey will open up Harvey’s Bar as the star attraction of Hats Off to Country.

The 17th annual event will be held from July 7 to 10 across 15 venues, from Nundle to Tamworth, with more than 80 free and ticketed shows from start to finish.

Country star Adam Harvey will stand and deliver at the main event, the annual Southern Cross Austereo Give Me 5 for Kids concert, in Blazes at Wests on Saturday, July 9, at 7.30pm.

Now in its sixth year, the concert raises much-needed funds for the children’s ward at Tamworth hospital.

ON TIME: The 2016 CMAA Musician of the Year Doug Gallacher is one of the musician tutors at the CMAA Junior Academy.

From July 2 to 9 in Tamworth, the CMAA Junior Academy of Country Music will take another cohort of young people and instruct them in the art of becoming a country music performer.

Tutors include Amber Lawrence, David Carter and Simon Johnson. For the first time this year, juniors will be offered a musicianship course with professional band personnel Doug Gallacher, Ian Lees, Rod Motbey and recent senior graduate and Toyota Star Maker finalist Liam Kennedy-Clark on board to ensure – instrumentally – students learn from the very best.

The juniors’ graduation concert will be held in the Peter Smart Centre at Calrossy on the Friday night.

Out at The DAG Sheep Station, Nundle, from July 7 to 12, class is also sitting for the annual Singer-Songwriters’ Retreat.

Another enthusiastic contingent of students will gain expert tuition at The DAG from a star-studded list of tutors – Luke O’Shea, Kevin Bennett, Felicity Urquhart, Lyn Bowtell, Jeremy Edwards and Aleyce Simmonds – during the week-long retreat in the hills of gold.

Along with the lessons, there will be plenty of practical “work experience” as tutors and students combine to present showcases, served with a tasty meal, courtesy of hosts John and Belinda Krsulja and their award-winning team.

HOME AGAIN: Bill Chambers feels right at home in the Bill Chambers Room of The Pub and can’t wait for his Hats Off show.

Back in Tamworth, the beat goes on … at 14 city venues, including The Pub on Gunnedah Rd.

Famed for his legendary daily concerts in January, Bill Chambers will hold court at The Pub for one very cool show at The Pub, following the launch of 2016 Toyota Star Maker Karin Page’s new EP.

South Tamworth Bowling Club becomes “classic country central”, showcasing the talents of crowd-pleasers Alby Pool, Sandra Humphries and Anthony Taylor.

The monthly CCMA Jam will herald the start of Hats Off at the bowlo on Wednesday, July 6, at 7pm.

That same night at the Tudor Hotel, another monthly Tamworth gathering, the TSA Songwriters’ Night, kicks off about 7pm.

BUSHY: Simply Bushed will perform over two big nights at Tamworth Services Club during Hats Off this year.

Popular with audiences young and old, Simply Bushed will pack out the dance floor at Tamworth Services Club over two big nights, while Golden Guitar winner Luke O’Shea will share some great story-songs of Australia in a special dinner show at North Tamworth Bowling Club.

The Bligh St bowling club is also the launching pad for a new tribute show, devised by Werris Creek songstress Marie Hodson.

LAUNCH PAD: The Cartwheels – Charley and Wendy Phypers, and Dave Patterson – will kick off a tour in conjunction with Marie Hodson, starting in Tamworth at the Hats Off to Country Festival.

Marie and Victorian Golden Guitar winner Wendy Phypers (The Sparnetts/The Cartwheels), will present their salute to leading country ladies Patsy Cline and Brenda Lee, before taking the show on tour to Queensland and beyond.

And it just wouldn’t be Hats Off to Country without the ever-popular Don Costa presenting two shows daily at Tamworth Shoppingworld – at 11am and 1pm.

A venue new to the 2016 event is the Cattleman Steakhouse where the entertainment begins with a CD launch of Peter (Smokie) Dawson on Hats Off eve, Wednesday, July 6.

Then settle back each evening for great entertainment with your dining experience, courtesy of Cassidy Rae Wilson, Ryan Sampson and shopping centre king, Don Costa.

PURE COUNTRY: Anthony Taylor will bring his true country style to the South Tamworth Bowlo at this year’s Hats Off to Country festival.

Tamworth’s pub scene is well and truly buzzing with live music for Hats Off.

The Golden Guitar-winning Adam Eckersley Band will perform at The Albert, along with the lovely Brooke McClymont as the band’s special guest.

Along the Armidale Rd, you’ll find the Oasis Hotel – an oasis for those with a penchant for traditional and bush ballad-style music.

The Post Office Hotel hosts day-long sessions by the Tamworth Songwriters’ Association and the delightful Missy Lancaster, a Toyota Star Maker grand finalist, on Saturday, July 9 at 9pm.

The Longyard continues to deliver the goods with Mike Vee, the Viper Creek Band and Matt Scullion enlisted to enhance your Hats Off experience.

Southgate Inn is the venue for the Chad Morgan bronze bust fundraising concert, hosted by the Australian Bush Balladeers Association, with a variety of artists donating their time and talents to the worthy cause.

This midyear festival in the Country Music Capital is a seasonal favourite for those who prefer their country a little cooler than the 40-degree heat of Tamworth in January.

It’s that groovy time of the year when you can layer up, rug up, cuddle up and get your country on.

The countdown begins.​

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