2018 Tamworth Country Music Festival first day a scorcher

ABSOLUTE SCORCHER: It'll be one of the hottest starts to a country music festival in years. Photo: Geoff O'Neill.
ABSOLUTE SCORCHER: It'll be one of the hottest starts to a country music festival in years. Photo: Geoff O'Neill.

WHILE it’s rained on the first day of the Tamworth Country Music Festival for the past few years, this year country music lovers will receive a very warm welcome from Mother Nature.

The opening day of the 2018 festival will be a scorcher, with the mercury expected to hit 40 degrees.

It’s set to be followed by consecutive days of above 40 degrees, with Saturday, Sunday and Monday all forecast to reach a maximum of 41, while it could boil over to 42 degrees on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued an extreme weather warning, while the NSW Rural Fire Service has declared a total fire ban for Friday.

St John’s event commander Peter Cameron has worked the past 10 Tamworth Country Music Festivals, and can’t recall such a daunting forecast.

“This would have to be the longest period of extreme temperatures over consecutive days that I can remember,” Mr Cameron said.

“With the hot days, it’s usually dehydration, people not drinking enough water and being out in the sun too long. It can creep up on you very quickly. Once you’re thirst, it’s a bit late, so drinking plenty of water regularly.”

Anyone who is feeling unwell from the heat can find the St John’s volunteers set up in Bicentennial Park, Peel Street, West Leagues Club and the TRECC.

Tamworth Fire and Rescue station manager Tim Gillard reminded campers to be vigilant around the camping grounds.

“Most years we’ll get a couple of gas bottle fires, and we’ve had a couple of caravans, but no tents yet,” he said. He recommended checking LPG cylinders for leaks before use and ensuring caravans had working smoke alarms.

“An extra thing we’re pushing this year is, if you’ve had a few to drink, get takeaway, don’t go home cooking,” Mr Gillard said.

“In an inebriated state, people make poor decisions or fall asleep. I can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve gone to a place where someone has come home late at night and the place is filled with smoke because they’ve left the cooking on.”

Last year, festival-goers sweated through 10-days straight of temperatures above 30 degrees, with a maximum temperature of 38.3 degrees.

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