For the first time in 21 years, the Australian Bush Laureate Awards will not be staged in Tamworth during the Country Music Festival in January 2016.
In a statement, the organisers said that for some time the event had not been financially viable with venue and other costs increasing and audience numbers declining substantially. This decline seemed to reflect a general trend seen in similar events elsewhere.
In addition, there had been a significant reduction in the numbers of nominations in some categories. New categories had been introduced and a number of alternative approaches had been tried including a change of time last January, but there had been little improvement in either attendance or entries.
The organisers said they had found it difficult under these circumstances, to present the sort of Awards the bush poetry scene deserved.
After considering all the alternatives, it has now been decided that from and including the Awards for January 2016, the event will be put on hold until further notice.
"We are very proud of what has been achieved over the years and sincerely regret the necessity of this action. However it is felt there is no alternative in the short term," the organisers said.
The situation will be reviewed in the future with the hope of reviving the Bush Laureates if circumstances change.
In the meantime, they said they would like to recognise the multitude of friends who have played such an active part in the success of the Australian Bush Laureate Awards since they started in 1995.
"Whether you’ve been poets, performers, presenters, entrants or audience, we thank you all for your wonderful involvement and support."
The organisers Australian Bush Laureate Awards
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