HUNTER musicians spent Australia Day performing, meeting and waving to fans at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Troy Kemp, Morgan Evans and Kristen Lane made individual appearances for fans while Hunter bands such as the Low Flying Hippies as well as Flash Sheedy and the Intro-Matics packed out the pubs.
Join Herald journalist Amy Edwards and photographer Marina Neil on the red carpet at the Golden Guitars as they file live updates from 5.30pm.
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Troy Kemp from golden guitar winning duo McAlister Kemp kicked off the morning by waving to the crowd from his monster truck during the cavalcade down Peel Street.
Newcastle-based Kemp and band mate Drew McAlister are nominated for album of the year and duo of the year at tonight’s Country Music Awards of Australia.
Former Telstra Road to Tamworth winner Morgan Evans performed at the Australia Day Concert in Centennial Park before meeting fans in Peel Street at the FanZone.
‘‘It’s fun. Everyone in town loves country music and that’s what we do. It’s really good to get that connection,’’ Evans said.
‘‘This year all our gigs have been full so it’s been a really good year at Tamworth in that sense.’’
Evans, who will perform at CMC Rocks the Hunter at Pokolbin in March, will present the award for best vocal collaboration at tonight’s Gold Guitars.
Hunter Valley singer Kristen Lane has been performing her new song about Newcastle titled On The Esplanade at the Locomotive Hotel in Tamworth.
The 2012 Star Maker finalist juggles teaching music at Cessnock High School and being a mum to two-year-old Portia.
The Low Flying Hippies as well as Flash Sheedy and the Intro-Matics entertained crowds with sounds other than country music at the Albert Hotel in the CBD.
The Hippies are known for their reggae sound while Flash Sheedy describes his music as ‘‘surf tunes from the early 60s’’.
Bass player Ed Matzenik from Flash Sheedy and the Intro-Matics has been coming to Tamworth for 34 years.
‘‘Apart from the music, you meet people from all over Australia,’’ he said of what attracts him to the festival.
‘‘Every year you catch up with people in Tamworth. It’s just terrific.’’
Cessnock sisters Miranda and Ashleigh Johnson come to Tamworth each year with their parents.
‘‘We love country. It’s great having family here and seeing the buskers. My favourite country band is Simply Bush,’’ Miranda said.
Following a day of performances, all eyes will be on the Country Music Awards of Australia tonight.
Newcastle songstress Catherine Britt leads the nominations with seven nods including best album and best female.
Bob Corbett has three nominations including best new talent.