PLANNING for the NSW Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) next year is under way as normal, despite the coronavirus crisis.
Tamworth Regional Council events manager Barry Harley said some of the "serious stuff" is now being locked in for the event, which is set to go ahead in January.
"Whatever happens, no matter what the restrictions are, I'd nearly bet that there will be some music, some venues and some fans in Tamworth ... because of the institutionalised nature of it," he told the Leader.
Organisers will abide by whatever restrictions COVID-19 throws at them, and are planning for a range of different outcomes.
Mr Harley said scenario one - what he is crossing his fingers for - is a fairly normal festival. Scenario two is a modification of outdoor events where crowd control is more difficult; and scenario three will see the event adapted to stricter health orders.
Mr Harley said the saving grace of TCMF is that about 95 per cent of the acts are venue-based and indoors, meaning social distancing can be managed.
The first ticket launch for shows at places like the town hall is set down for early September, and a massive marketing campaign is set to kick off about the same time.
But Mr Harley doesn't think drawing crowds will be a problem.
"Something like 70 per cent of visitors are regular Tamworth visitors and we've been successful in attracting about 30 per cent newcomers every year ... so we know there is a big bunch of people that want to come to Tamworth," he said.
"Because of international travel restrictions, there could even be a whole bunch of bucket-listers out there that are looking at coming to Tamworth."
If the festival goes ahead in its full glory, it will be "probably the first time in 12 months" artists have connected with their fans on that scale.
"Pretty much every act is looking to Tamworth as the signal that everything is back to a new normal," Mr Harley said.
Venues and council are in the process of confirming artist appearances now.