Toyota Star Maker cancel 2021 event over COVID-19 concerns
Organisers behind the annual Toyota Star Maker competition have cancelled next January’s event, a staple on the country music calendar during the Tamworth festival.
It’s the second time that Star Maker has missed a year. From 1979, Star Maker was held in October and in 1983 it was held over until 1984 to be a highlight of the annual Tamworth event.
Toyota – the event sponsor for 25 years – has offered a car and fuel card to current winner Sammy White, taking her through to the 50th Toyota Country Music Festival in 2022.
Toyota Australia vice president sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said it had been an incredibly tough year for those in the music industry and that Toyota is keen to support the sector.
“Sammy was a well-deserving winner of the 2020 Star Maker but due to COVID-19, she hasn’t been able to travel or perform to further develop her career for most of the year,” Hanley said.
“Toyota is proud to extend her prize of the use of a RAV4 for another 12 months to give her the opportunity to get out and perform and showcase her talent as restrictions ease.
“For 25 years, the prize package for Toyota Star Maker, worth more than $100,000, has been instrumental in developing and enabling up and coming country musicians the chance to really grow their careers.
“Many of Australia’s country stars including Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, Gina Jeffreys and Sam McClymont benefited greatly as Toyota Star Maker winners and we want to ensure Sammy has the same opportunity,” he said.
Like all those affected in the music industry, White’s festival and touring calendar of events was wiped out in March this year.
Throughout the year, White has had an incredibly positive outlook and has continued working on her music and hosting a weekly Star Maker Sessions Live to Facebook over a nine-week period.
She released her single ‘Lay It On Me’ in May and recently kick-started live performances as a guest artist touring with Brad Cox, the 2018 Toyota Star Maker.
Her brand-new single ‘Home (Feels Like You)’ was released on October 2 and her Star Maker album Undone will be released on November 13.
Organisers apologised to emerging artists who may have looked upon 2021 to take the leap by entering Toyota Star Maker in the hope of starting their dream year.
“We will come back, bigger and brighter as we help to celebrate the 50th Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2022,” organisers said in a statement.