** Verandah sessions to celebrate community and showcase local music talent at the Toyota Country Music Festival (TCMF) **
** Four sessions hosted by multiple Golden Guitar winner and ABC presenter Felicity Urquhart **
** Other highlights this year include the Toyota Star Maker, Golden Guitar Awards and fundraising for Rural Aid **
Toyota will celebrate the essence of life in rural communities at the 2020 Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth by supporting a series of "Verandah" sessions that bring local music stars and community representatives together to share in music and conversation.
Hosted by multiple Golden Guitar winner, Tamworth local and ABC presenter Felicity Urquhart, the Verandah sessions will highlight the achievements and struggles of country life.
Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said the idea behind the Verandah sessions was to showcase the extraordinary depth of Australian music talent and the inspiration behind it, while also discussing the highs and lows faced by those in rural communities.
"The verandah is a special place in the homes of regional Australia where people gather at the end of the day to talk, to laugh, and to make music and Toyota wants to celebrate that in a unique way," Mr Hanley said.
The sessions will bring together some of the biggest stars of country music such as Sam and Mollie McClymont, together with local Tamworth buskers and up and coming musicians nominated for the Toyota Star Maker, to talk and play music in a casual and informal setting.
But it's also about more than the music, it's about what binds these communities together, with one session featuring Rural Aid co-founder Tracy Alder and musician Fanny Lumsden who will talk about the hardships of life in regional Australia and how these can be tackled.
"Having been a valued partner of the Tamworth Country Music Festival for 28 years, Toyota is very proud to be bringing this engaging new element to Australia's largest festival and to share it with Australians across the country," Mr Hanley said.
In addition to the Verandah sessions, Toyota continues to support the festival as a whole, including searching for the next country music star through the Toyota Star Maker program.
This annual competition gives young musicians like last year's winner Blake O'Connor the chance to showcase their talent and compete for a prize package valued at more than $100,000 that includes a trip to Nashville for the CMA (Country Music Association) Festival in the US.
Toyota also provides a specific sponsorship for the Golden Guitar Awards - the nation's longest running music awards - with alumni including The McClymonts, Lee Kernaghan, Keith Urban and James Blundell.
Another highlight of the festival is Toyota's famous hats fundraiser that draws huge crowds in Tamworth. Hats are available daily at the Toyota Fanzone in exchange for a two-dollar donation with all proceeds going to Rural Aid, a charity organisation that runs a variety of programs with a particular focus on mental health.
And for a showcase of some of the best street musos in the business, the Toyota Country Music Busking Championships draws up to 400 buskers to perform on Tamworth's famous Peel Street where the likes of Troy Cassar-Daley, Kasey Chambers, Beccy Cole, and Keith Urban kicked off their careers.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival runs from 17-26 January and the Verandah sessions will be able to be viewed on Toyota's YouTube, Facebook and Instagram channels:
For further information on the 2020 Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth visit https://www.tcmf.com.au/
For more information, please contact:
Manager, Public Affairs
Mobile: 0437 811 508