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Telstra Country Music Festival Tamworth Launch 2005
The Mint - Sydney
Doug Campbell Managing Director of Telstra Country Wide
Telstra Technology to assist fans and Media
Telstra advanced technology will provide unparalleled  access to the 2005 Telstra Country Music Festival for country music fans and the media when it is staged in Tamworth between January  14th - 23rd.
Millions of country music fans will have front row seats at the Telstra Road to Tamworth finals series on January 17th and 18th plus the Fender Super Jam concert on January 21st when they are screened live from Tamworth at www.telstra.com/countrywide/countrymusic
Additionally, Telstra Country Wide's dedicated country music site will provide fans with the latest news from the Festival plus access to an impressive library of performances from the biggest names in Australian country music.
Telstra Country Wide Group Managing Director, Mr. Doug Campbell, said the dedicated country music website was a tremendous success at the 2004 Festival and its popularity was destined to increase in 2005.
"Data from the 2004 Telstra Country Music Festival reveals a substantial increase in website hits.  The international popularity of the Festival is also shown by the number of hits we receive from users located outside Australia," said Mr. Campbell  .
The 2005 Festival will also see the Telstra BigPond Mobile Media Centre in operation for Festival Media
The 25 metre 40-tonne B-double transporter Telstra BigPond Mobile Media Centre is a satellite-linked facility which is hauled by a prime mover.
It features some of the most advance satellite broadband communications available in Australia including an automated self-pointing satellite dish and a satellite modem.  The satellite dish deploys and aligns itself with a simple flick of a switch.
Mr. Campbell said the Centre is a practical demonstration of cutting-edge broadband and satellite communications technology.
"The Centre has been successfully used by media throughout Australia during the V8 Supercars motor racing series.
James Treloar Mayor of Tamworth Regional Council
Tamworth Regional Council
The 2005 Telstra Country Music Festival in Tamworth has added a new high tech tune to its management and operational line-up for next year.
The January event - a virtual city-wide mardi-gras of music and partying - is still being fine tuned for next year but there are some exciting new advances for fans.
Tamworth mayor James  Treloar says the festival is a celebration of the best of Australian spirit, of enjoyment and good clean fun, where visitors can chill out, tune in, sing out and go all out.
"It's a family festival, and the emphasis is on fun.  We go into party mode and so does everyone who comes.   It's more than a hoedown, it's a giant city mardi-gras," Mr Treloar said.
Fans will see some significant new festival advances. 
The 2005 festival runs from January 14th to 23rd, matching interstate school holidays.  New awards dates were announced by organisers in May, bringing the Golden Guitars to the first weekend of the festival, rather than the final weekend.
Mr Treloar says that new programming may attract more fans earlier into the festival - allowing for less of the final festival weekend crush, but effectively spreading out the festival calendar and giving fans more for their visit.
He paid tribute to sponsors Telstra, saying the telco was a dedicated country music fan who was giving the city opportunities to increase its capital and it's economic wealth through the festival involvement.
The home of the Golden Guitar awards extravaganza has improved seating and box office sales which allow fans to choose where they want to sit to see the stars.   And new seating bays allow organisers to put more country music backsides on seats in the TREC auditorium.
Visitors planning to come to the 2005 festival will find it easier to stay in Tamworth too.
They can now go online to book accommodation and search for various different types of Tamworth hospitality outlets, from home hosting, house rentals and farm stays to B and B's, motels, hotels, caravan parks and camping grounds.
Tamworth Regional Council launched its portal website this year with a specialist country music section and extensive tourist and business services that allows computer users to browse for Tamworth information in one central spot, without using outside search engines and having to negotiate different websites. 
That portal website also launched an online ticket sales service in November and festival visitors can book tickets to more than 20 different country music concerts now.    More shows will come online with sales between now and January.  Find it at  www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au 
And visitors will find improved facilities and city services when they get here, and for those who can't come - but want to share in the excitement- they'll be able to click on their computer to watch live shots of festival fun.
Although many concerts haven't yet been finalised, there look like being more than 2500 advertised events, involving more than 800 artists at some 120 venues.   Stellar stars will play the festival, including Kasey Chambers, Adam Brand, Gina Jeffreys, Lee Kernaghan, Adam Harvey, Melinda Schneider, John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, The Waifs and Missy Higgins.
More than 50,000 fans visit Tamworth for the festival each year and up to 10 000 of them can descend on caravan parks and more than 18 temporary camping sites, set up in school yards and sporting grounds.  Estimates suggest the economic benefit from the festival is much more than $40million.
Tamworth Regional Council, which spends more than $700,000 to run the festival each year,  will introduce more user-friendly facilities, improved traffic routes, cleaner grounds, more mobile and portable toilet and shower blocks for campers, more rubbish bins, advanced crowd safety controls, and new emergency evacuation plans for January.
A series of festival 2004 post-mortems, involving business and retail, the sponsor Telstra, media, police and other emergency services, hospitality suppliers, and basically anyone interested in the running of the festival, has provided feedback and opinion into the strategic planning for the 2005 Telstra Country Music Festival.
Mr. Treloar said the consultation sessions were invaluable for festival management each year.  Aerial mapping and an infrastructure audit during the 2005 festival will give town planners and festival organisers an updated idea of the festival issues to allow better forward planning.
Channel Seven's  {Sunrise} Grant Denyer MC with Gina Jeffreys
Country Music Star, Gina Jeffreys, said today the nationwide interest in the Telstra Road to Tamworth talent competition, and the quality of performances throughout the heats, would ensure the on-going development and success of the country music genre.
Speaking at the launch of the 2005 Telstra Country Music Festival in Sydney, Jeffreys said the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition is uncovering an exciting new generation of country music stars and helping launch their careers.
Thirty-two heats have already been conducted at venues around Australia, with the remaining two heats to be held in Goulburn on December 5th and at Charleville on December 16th.
The Telstra Road to Tamworth competition has been a spectacular success attracting over 770 entrants.
 "The Telstra Road to Tamworth competition spreads across the length and breadth of Australia to provide aspiring and talented singers the opportunity to be discovered,"  said Jeffreys, the Telstra Road to Tamworth ambassador.
"I know first hand the importance of these talent competitions, as my own career was launched over 10 years ago when I won a talent quest" she added.
Jeffreys said the package of prizes for the ultimate Telstra Road to Tamworth winner, including a trip to Nashville to record and produce a single through BMG Australia, was unprecedented in country music. 
The prizes include: 
*A single recordedand produced in Nashville through BMG Australia including international airfare and accommodation.
*A performance on the Riverstage at CMA Music Festival/Fanfair
*Publicity of their performance in Nashville by leading PR company AristoMedia.
*Two Gold pass tickets to CMA Music Festival/ Fanfair 2005
* One year membership of the CMA America.
*A video clip produced by and played on the Country Music Channel shown on Austar and Foxtel pay television.
* Two paid professional live performance organised through leading Country Music agency, Allied Artists.
*A Maton EM325C acoustic guitar, including case, with fitted AP5 professional pre-amp.
*A paid performance at FanFest during the 2005 Telstra Country Music Festival in Tamworth.
* A scholarship to either the CMAA College of Country Music Tamworth or the Camerata in 2006.
The 34 heat winners will compete in two final heats at West Tamworth League Club on January 17th with the top eight performers qualifying for the Grand Final to be held at West Tamworth League Club on January 18th.
Telstra Country Wide Managing Director, Mr. Doug Campbell said the Telstra Road to Tamworth competition creates opportunities for talented, aspiring singers to realise their musical dreams.
"This competition demonstrates Telstra Country Wide's commitment to people across Australia and supports their hopes and aspirations no matter where they live," said Mr Campbell.
The 32 heat winners to date are
        Leah Briggs (Port Pirie, SA)                      Nicholas Laing (Geelong, Vic) 
                    Mollie McClymont (Grafton, NSW)          Briana Lee Brassil (Shepparton, Vic)
               Peter Gervasoni (Melton, Vic)                  Krystal Donnelly (Townsville, Qld)
              Aleyce Simmonds (Armidale, NSW)           Tamara Bull (Rockhampton, Qld.)
                      Jacqueline Izod (Darwin, NT)                     Claye Middleton (Maroochydore, Qld.)
   Penelope Somerville (Bendigo, Vic)           Lee Kirby (Kalgoorlie, WA )
         Krystal Stone (Albany, WA)                       Rob Coleman ( Bundaberg, Qld)
                 Warren Milera (Murray Bridge, SA)        Amos Roberts (Coffs Harbour, NSW)
               Victoria Baille (Traralgon, Vic)                   Paul Buckberry (Wollongong, NSW)
             Jenna Brooks (Toowoomba, Qld)                Meegan Marmora (Orange, NSW
     Rebecca Lee Nye (Mildura, Vic)                Clancy Fisher (Horsham, Vic)
           Caitlyn Patman (Geraldton, WA)                Sarah Barnett (Richmond, NSW)
                Katie Brianna garfoot (Erina, NSW)           Kimberley Bowden (Mareeba, Qld)  
         Tom Coulson (Hobart, Tas)                          Hailey Burgess (Wodonga, Vic)
             Tameaka Fairfull (Gold Coast, QLD.)         Morgan Evans (Newcastle, NSW)
           Gina Timms (Launceston, Tas.)                   Megan Doherty (Cranbourne Vic)
Katie Brianna who won the Erina heat in the 2005
Telstra Road to Tamworth competition)
The Hon Sandra Nori   MP
Minister for Tourism and Sport and Recreation
Minister for Women
Singing The praises of Tamworth $40 million earner
NSW Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation Sandra Nori today sang the praises of Tamworth's Telstra Country Music Festival - an event worth $40 million to the regional economy.
Ms Nori joined Tamworth Mayor James Treloar, Telstra Countrywide Group Managing Director Doug Campbell and performers Gina Jeffreys and Katie Brianna to launch the Festival at The Mint in Sydney.
Ms Nori said the Festival put not just Tamworth - but Australia - on the world map as one of the premier country music events.
"At the NSW Tourism Awards in Sydney earlier this month, I gave the Country Music Festival a special acknowledgement for its contribution to regional tourism," she said.
"There is no doubt that this festival is the key to Tamworth's  tourism industry," Ms Nori said.
"It has grown from a two-day event in 1973 to a must-see-in-a-lifetime experience for country music fans in Australia and throughout  the world," she said
Ms Nori said the NSW Government was a strong supporter of the tourism industry.
"Tourism plays such an important role in building regional economies and creating jobs for young people," she said.
In September, the NSW Government launched a $1 million advertising campaign to attract more people to regional parts of the State, including New England and the North -West .
"The  audience reach of the Heart of Country NSW campaign is about 9.3 million television viewers in Sydney, Victoria, South East Queensland and regional NSW South Wales," Ms Nori said.
This year Telstra Country Music Festival - between 13th and 24th January- is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors.
"Tourism Tamworth has sold tickets on-line for the first time this year and they tell me people have been buying tickets from as far away as New York and New Zealand.
"Festival -goers will be spoilt by more than 2000 events at 130 venues around Tamworth," Ms Nori said.
More information about Tamworth and the New England and North-West region is available at www.visitnsw.com.au
Grant Denyer MC with Lee Kernaghan
Cheryl Hayes General Manager CMAA
CMAA gets set for another big January in Tamworth
The 2005 Telstra Tamworth Country Music Festival calendar is already locked away promising a ten day schedule of live performances, showcases and concerts by the cream of Australia's country music fraternity.   And what better way to start the Festival in 2005 than with the pinnacle of Australian Country Music Events - the 33rd Annual Toyota Golden Guitar Awards - country music's night of nights.
The Awards, kick starting the Festival on Saturday night 15th of January, is sure to excite with a star studded list of performers including the who's who of Australian country music with Lee Kernaghan, Sara Storer, Kasey Chambers, Adam Harvey and Catherine Britt ready to entertain.  
The 33rd annual Golden Guitar Awards continues Toyota's long and successful association with Australian Country Music where performers and artists vie to receive a coveted Golden Guitar - the highest accolade in Australian Country Music.
Behind the scenes, the voting of the Golden Guitars is now being finalised, with an announcement of the finalists expected in early December - can Sara Storers record haul of  7 Golden Guitars in 2004 be surpassed
Other highlights on the calendar for 2005 include the CMAA Australian College of Country Music Graduation Concert and the Maton Golden Guitar New Talent showcase.
The college Graduation Concert is being held on Friday 14th of January 2005.  The Graduation concert culminates a two week long intensive professional development program.  During this fortnight 21 highly talented individuals from across Australia and New Zealand join together to learn from industry heavy weights what is needed to succeed in the country music industry.  The graduates take what they
learn throughout these two weeks and produce and deliver a graduation concert that is truly spectacular, Star graduates of the College include Brendon Walmsley, Travis Collins and Sara Storer.
The CMAA Continues it's tradition of exposing new and emerging talent via the Maton Golden Guitar New Talent showcase, being held on Thursday 20th.  Finalists of the New Talent section of the Golden Guitar Awards will come together in one show fresh from their success at the Awards to entertain and present the future of Australia's country music industry
The Telstra Tamworth Country Music Festival is without doubt one of Australia's greatest events.  Country Music Capital becomes a forum where city meets country in a celebration of culture, heritage and identity.
The final programme for 2005 will offer around 2500 events staged in well over 100 different venues.  These venues range from a selection of clubs, pubs, church halls, shopping centres and on the streets of Tamworth - Country Music Capital.   The entertainment presented will range from listening to buskers as they entertain in the CBD area or taking your seat in the 5,000capacity Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre (TREC) to witness who will take home Gold among the hardworking and talented artists at the prestigious Toyota Golden Guitar Awards Concert.
Grant Denyer MC with Adam Harvey
Adam Harvey and Band
              Nick Albeck
Stuey French and Adam Harvey
Simon Johnson on Bass
Rod Laing (Tamworth West League),  Adam Harvey and James Treloar (Mayor of Tamworth)
Katie Brianna
Simon Johnson, Grant Cardwell, Stuey French with Joan Douglas (hotel licensee)
in Tamworth)
Katie Brianna (at the beginning of a big career in Country Music who won the Erina heat in the 2005 Telstra Road to Tamworth competition) with Lee Kernaghan one of Australia's top country music stars.
Lee Kernaghan and Mike Bedford (Cool Country)
James Treloar (Mayor of Tamworth) with the effervescent Anna Rose from "Tamworth Leader"
Lee Kernaghn, Melinda Schneider Katie Brianna, Gina Jeffries and Adam Harvey
Rod McCormack mingling with friends
Telstra Country Music Festival Fact Sheet
• Tamworth is known as the capital of country music in Australia.
• The Festival is the breeding ground and Tamworth is the spiritual home of Australia’s country music legends.
• The Festival was first staged in 1973 and has grown from a two-day event to a 10-day extravaganza.
• Largest country music Festival in Australia and has now taken on iconic status.
• The Festival generates $40 million for the local economy.
• The Festival attracts around 500,000 visitor days.
• The Festival involves 2,500 performances at 130 venues.
• The Festival attracts visitors from over 20 countries.
• 500 Tamworth families participate in Home Hosting during the Festival.
• Over 10,000 campers use temporary camping sites in addition to existing caravan and camping sites.
• The Festival site www.telstra.com/countrywide/countrymusic  received over 220,000 “hits” during the 2003 Festival.
• The website attracted “hits” from New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Asia.
• The Festival is regarded alongside Nashville and the Calgary County Stampede as among the world’s foremost country music events.
• Independent analysis revealed over $19 million in media editorial exposure was generated for the 2004 Festival – the largest ever on record.
Print out and have the memories