Tamworth Debacle / Off with their Heads

As predicted, Kasey Chambers Little Bird album won 4 awards at Tamworth, but a Little Bird told “Tell Me Unc” that everything is not well in the Tamworth Golden Guitar Camp.

The night was great. Newcomer presenter shock Jock Ray Hadley and well seasoned Beccy Cole presented the awards. Hadley was a flop; he did not mix well with the waiting media as he pranced along the red carpet. Who is he anyway, people were asking. How dare a shock jock invade the redneck heartland of country music. There are enough rednecks, thank you Ray.

Everything was great, the artists were great, until the last Award. What a farce it was. The award artists were all assembled on stage and had just given a great rendition of “Help” the old Beatles song in aid of the flood victims. On completion everyone clapped and hooted and hollered a lot of calls of more more  more etc.

Then the first dishonest and farcical event is played out on an unsuspecting audience. They had been duped. Out comes the event comedian and says.  Folks there has been a problem with the television production and we have to re take the segment again.

Well the crowd loved this and “Help’ was recorded again. The real story was bubbling away underneath as there here people running around in blind panic. Apparently there was a great blunder with the last award which was the Album of the Year award.

Some one had really cocked up. The award was won by the Lee Kernigan album Planet country Lee graciously accepted the award. But the Award was actually won by Graeme Connors. The cover up was on, there was pandemonium out back.  Following the second rendition of “Help” everyone thought that they were going home. The cover up was in full flight by this.

Then out comes the comedian again and announces folks don’t go we have to re do the last Award presentation again for television because there was a problem with the production ha, ha, ha, so every one is really sucked in by this. Wow we get more!

The left hand guitar did not know what the right hand guitar was doing.  The audience were sucked in by the producers of the Awards to believe that they were doing a re take of the last award because of a malfunction (not a wardrobe malfunction) of the last presentation of the Album of the Year award.

What had gone wrong here?  Something went awfully wrong between Ray Hadley receiving the envelope and the music coordinator. Hadley opens the envelope, up starts the Graeme Connor music and the winner of the Album of the year is … ‘Lee Kernigan!’ announces an excited Beccy Cole. Oops.

The press conference after the Kenny Rodgers concert was an exercise in how not to manage a crisis. A press release was issued and Lee Kernigan issued a hand written letter.

Lee Kernighan

I am feeling  fairly philosophical about this.

There is such a thing as human error and this is what occurred on the night.

The most important thing is that the correct winner takes home the Golden Guitar.

I would like to personally congratulate Graeme on his win.

He is a superb country artist and I am truly happy for Graeme and this much deserved recognition.

Graeme Connors Response.

This has truly been a weekend of wonderful surprises for us, and the latest knowledge that we have received a Golden Guitar for the 2011 Album of the year with Still Walking is a great honor. Part of the beauty of humanity is that we occasionally make mistakes – this one has been easily rectified- and in the current situation with so many dire events surrounding us, is a very small hiccup. I’d like to thank Lee for his kind comments and generosity of spirit so typical of Australian Country music fraternity. I’d also like to thank the CMA for resolving this matter so professionally. I’ve asked my Producer Matt Fell to contribute his acceptance as first time in recognition of the great contribution he has made.

CMC have handled this affair very badly. Rather than try to spin their way out and dupe the media like they duped the audience, they should have come clean. The media have been used and abused at this years event. Seasoned Tamworth reporters have been treated badly. There were crammed into a 10 by 10 fenced off area and expected to do interviews of people coming up the red carpet. Reporters left to yell to get the attention of the artists. Journalists being stopped at venues around town by intimidating security. Being text at 5 minute notice of press conferences. Orchestrated press conferences, journos being treated like kids.  It leaves CMA and the organizers in a suspicious  position with journalists. Journalists were left waiting in the hot sun under a tree by the organisers and told to wait,  for Kenny Rodgers. Kenny Turned up and media were ushered inside accross a carpark to meet the great man. After an hour in the hot sun, waiting the media were given a very short 15 minute interview with Kenny, 10 minutes were taken up by Kenny talking about the floods and donating $10,000 to the flood. The CMA has a lot of work to do to claw back the good will of journalists and media companies some may be reluctant to come next year.

Then 20 minutes into the show a press conference is called about the Award farce. Well by this time the journos are really pissed off having to leave the KR concert . At the press conference journos asked if there was a cover up. Would heads roll, who was responsible for the cover up?  There was no cover up, said the stressed organizers. Only a printing error. Bla Bla Bla Bla.

The right thing to do is to give both Lee and Graeme one. They have been both played by the organizers.

Ok see u next year (maybe)



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