Michael Fix’s 1975 Tamworth Festival connection

Legendary guitar picker Michael Fix was at the very first Tamworth. “The first time I experienced the Tamworth CM festival was in 1975, and that was also my first exposure to country music. Armed with my battered acoustic guitar, I was holidaying with my parents at Lake Keepit (an hour from Tamworth), a popular summer camping spot.” Fast forward to 2011 and Michael is one of the hottest pickers in the land.

Michael Fix
Michael Fix

Legendary guitar picker Michael Fix was at one of the very first Tamworth festivals. “The first time I experienced the Tamworth festival was in 1975, and that was also my first exposure to country music. Armed with my battered acoustic guitar, I was holidaying with my parents at Lake Keepit (an hour from Tamworth), a popular summer camping spot.” Fast forward to 2011 and Michael is one of the hottest pickers in the land.

“Soon after we arrived, I heard a band rehearsing in a caravan nearby.”

“I had to check it out – this was too good to be true! I hung around that van a while until someone noticed me and invited me inside to listen. I was in heaven – a kid in the ‘inner sanctum’ with real musicians, playing this strange new music.”

“It turns out they were called “The Capital 3 Ranch Band” – Brian Kelly, Tony Sweeney, Leon Smith, plus a female vocalist.”

“They could see I was interested, and they very kindly took me into their ‘family’. I travelled with them into town to watch them perform – at the Regent cinema, where they were playing, along with Rex Dallas.”

Capital News Issue 1
Capital News Issue 1

“It was there that I picked up a copy of ‘Capital News’, which, as it turned out, was the first ever issue. I kept that issue as a memento, and still have it to this day. That’s John Minson on the cover, in an ad for Wrangler.”

“The Capital 3 ranch band, and Capital News obviously influenced me; when I returned home to Wollongong, I immediately set about forming my own band, which I named “The Capital 4” in honour of my “ranch band” friends.”

Tamorth Festival Program #1
Tamorth Festival Program #1

The 1975 festival – the half page listing features a grand total of 11 events for the weekend including the regent cinema show that Michael attended. It sure looks a little different from the festival programme these days.

The next time Michael Fix came to Tamworth was in 1991, as guitar player with Graeme Connors and he has been a regular Tamworth tragic ever since.

Visit Michael’s website to hear music & shop online. Help keep Australian country strong – support Capital News.

As you can see from the clip below, Michael has some great videos on his Youtube Channel – over 50!

I’m writing a new Tamworth Festival related blog post every day between now and kickoff, so please check back tomorrow for more Tamworth tales. Read my older blog posts here. – John Elliott

2 thoughts on “Michael Fix’s 1975 Tamworth Festival connection”

  1. Thanks for posting, John. 1975 was actually the 3rd year of the Tamworth festival. Even at that early stage, with 11 events on the programme, the festival was spruiked as “the largest country music festival in the southern hemisphere”
    Also, this is the first Ive heard of ‘Richo’s hot club’ !!

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