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Monday, January 17, 2011

Tamworth, here we are!

Sarah and Alison are in Tamworth for the 2011 Country Music Festival.

We have already taken in a range of the historical fare on offer in this memorial town to Australia's country music, including the Walk a Country Mile exhibit, the TSA Songmaker Tribute, the Roll of Renown and the Galaxy of Stars at the TREC (the venue where the Country Music Awards will be held later this week), and the Winners' Walkway in the world-famous Peel Street.  We have also attended the opening concert in Bicentennial Park, and the Roll of Renown Concert at the Town Hall, where the 2011 inductees, the Emmanuel Brothers, were announced to a rapt crowd.

With so many tributes to country music's past in public spaces -- not just now during the festival, but all year round -- it strikes us that Tamworth really is a living museum to country music's history.  We are interested in what kind of past these memorials evoke.  Since country music itself is so invested in heritage, storytelling and honouring the work of the early songwriters through a strong tribute and covers tradition within its musical practice, we're wondering whether country music as a cultural formation is, perhaps, best thought of as a ready-made memory culture, even in its most contemporary incarnations.

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