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"MIDDLE of nowhere mate," the young man is heard speaking into his mobile phone as he drifts past the row of seats on the train to Tamworth.
Tamworth is indeed in the middle of nowhere in the larger scheme of New South Wales, and continental Australia. Yet, every year, it plays host to a festival of music that is quintessentially Australian.
It's the Tamworth Country Music Festival, since its inception in 1968 held over the three-day Australia Day long weekend in January.
There is more to country than just the music. The music, ballads and poetry reflect the ethos of the land from which the artists draw their inspiration.
In good times, people make merry. In hard times, people are drawn to the solace the balladeers represent of the "big brown land" of their dry continent....