TAMWORTH Country Music Festival is the latest victim of the region's skyrocketing COVID-19 crisis as mayor Russell Webb announces it will be postponed until April.
"Today is a very tough day for me," he said.
"The organisers of the 50th Tamworth Country Music Festival have made a very difficult decision and we are going to postpone the event and the event will now be held between the 18th and 24th of April.
"We had three choices, we either cancel the event, we ran an event that was going to be very short on artists because the artists were starting to all pull out and we had very little choice other than to postpone the event to that date in April where we can actually have and run an effective event."
Councillors and festival stakeholders had a crisis meeting just an hour before the announcement and decided the festival would not go ahead in January, despite NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announcing this afternoon that major events could proceed under strict health guidelines.
Cr Webb said even with the green light there was too much uncertainty about what organisers, venues and artists would have to do to comply with the health regulations.
"It was with a very heavy heart that we've made this decision and I don't think there's one person in this organisation that's happy about it," he said.
"We're really in a situation where the best outcome for the city, the country music industry as a whole and the best outcome for the residents of our city was to postpone."
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said the decision needed to be made.
"What a devastating day that we find ourselves in," he said.
"I think we are in a much better position today [than last time] where the decision is made not only from council's perspective but also from the venues and others across this great city of ours that not only do we think about what's next but how do we continue the proud tradition of country music festival in Tamworth, we will now hold that in April ... it will provide opportunity and hope going forward."
Mr Anderson said as of yesterday 10 people are in Tamworth hospital being treated with COVID-19 and two are in the intensive care unit.
The 50th Golden Guitar Awards will now be held on April 23.
More to come.
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