Tamworth Country Music Festival: Tamworth pubs and clubs report bumper numbers for first weekend of festival

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IT WASN’T only the farmers singing the praises of the rain, but local pubs and clubs too, who were the big winners in the first weekend of the festival. Publicans in and around the Tamworth CBD have recorded “solid” numbers for the first three days of the 10-day Tamworth Country Music Festival – and it’s largely due to the rain and the cooler weather. Post Office Hotel owner Andrew Coutts said the cooler weather had been a godsend for everyone. “The days have been very solid; just as consistent as past years,” he said. READ ALSO: “It’s a touch surprising given the drought and the fires and everything, but there’s a fair bit of positivity around with the rain and the cooler weather, it’s been really good. “The food trade has been really solid, and where we probably had people come in for one drink in the heat in years gone by, they’re now staying and having a few drinks and having a feed – it’s good to see.” Down the boulevard of dreams, aka Peel Street, Tudor Hotel manager Shauna Riley told the Leader they had nearly doubled their trade for food and drinks, compared to last year. “It’s been great; it’s actually a really good turnout, and better than last year,” she said on Sunday. Ms Riley said the food trade is up on years gone by – almost doubling the numbers for the first weekend in 2019’s festival – something that delivered a surprising economic boost in the dry times. She said there was entertainment was on most storeys of the pub, and the cooler weather had meant more were in the street, passing by and sticking their heads in. Sign up to receive Tamworth Country Music Festival updates “They’re coming in a lot earlier we’ve noticed, and there’s been a good mix: visitors, locals, out-of-towners coming in because of the rain,” she said. “There is a lot of the older generation too, and they’re enjoying the festival and having a feed, you know, just down to earth country folk that are making the most of the cooler weather.” Owner and operator of The Welder’s Dog, Ben Coombes, said the trade during the day on Saturday was one of the better times. “Saturday’s sales were right up on last year, and it was definitely because of the rain because I think people couldn’t get enough of it; it was like that didn’t know what it was and hadn’t seen it before,” he joked. “And, that was locals too, because last year with the scorching temperatures everyone just wanted to get out of the heat, whereas this year, the day was one of the busiest times – it was a complete opposite on what we had last year.” Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the city’s water situation, the drought and the fires, The Tamworth publican Luke Prout said crowds had been up and well-behaved. “I was actually surprised with the patronage and general numbers,” he said on Sunday. “The cooler weather has definitely encouraged guests to eat more, and extend their stay in the hotel during the hottest parts of the day, whilst in recent years they would go home to refresh in those times.” The momentum from the #stayinthebush and support the bush campaigns are also believed to be behind the good numbers, pubs say. “With the drought and bushfires, fears were high that we may be a little forgotten this year, however it doesn’t seem to be the case,” Mr Prout said. “We are really appreciative of the support that visitors are showing the town and send our most positive thoughts to those that can’t make it due to said drought and fires.” Publicans expect a drop in numbers in the early part of the week, after the first weekend’s wave, but they think numbers will be on par for the rest – as the cooler temperatures balance out the usual visitors that might not make it because of fires or drought. “I feel that next week and weekend will be quieter as that half of the festival crowds tends to come from down south, and obviously they have had it very tough lately,” Mr Prout said. What do you think? Have your say, send a letter to the editor Want to see more local stories? Support the local news that keeps you informed – subscribe today


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