Brisbane buskers came to Tamworth Country Music Festival for success but left with trophy and love

Brisbane buskers came to Tamworth Country Music Festival for success but left with trophy and love

Every January, hundreds of artists set up their guitars and microphones to sing among 50,000 punters at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in central New South Wales.

This year, Queenslanders Tyla Rodrigues and Jarrad Wrigley were among them.

They met at last year’s festival, held in April due to the pandemic, and came home with a trophy and the beginnings of a musical relationship.

It was the first time the musicians had attended the Tamworth Country Music Festival. They each arrived with the goal to enjoy the atmosphere and perform for anyone willing to listen.

With a few gigs lined up the pair planned to make the most of the six-day event, shortened due to the COVID pandemic.

After one of Wrigley’s performances, while packing away his guitar, he looked up, and Rodrigues was standing there asking about his guitar.

They exchanged socials and the next day sang a song together, and it felt right.

Rodrigues recalls what drew her to listening to Wrigley on the stage that first day:

“He was playing all my favourite songs,” she said.

“When you can respect another musician and make something more beautiful together, it just works.”

Within days the musicians decided to try their luck at the Battle of the Buskers, singing an original song of Wrigley’s called Cover Me.

The chemistry was instant.

Wrigley said they made a connection from the first minute of performing together.

“You get this thing as a musician; you just start talking without saying anything to each other on stage,” he said.

Jarrad Wrigley (fifth from right) and Tyla Rodrigues (fourth from right) with the 2022 top 10 buskers.(Facebook: Tamworth Country Music Festival)

A winning duo

Placing third in the competition was proof Rodrigues and Wrigley needed to continue music together in whatever capacity they could.

That chance came when Rodrigues needed a guitarist and knew Wrigley who would fit with her style perfectly.

After months of travel together and gigging, Wrigley says there was one moment in Mount Isa when he knew he was in love.

“The first dance was it. I’ll leave that to peoples imaginations,” he said.

Rodrigues agreed the dance was a special moment.

But she admits, jokingly, that she has loved being able to spend so much time together and not hate each other thanks to living apart.

Living just one hour away from each other in Greater Brisbane, they have a golden rule of a weekly date night with no music talk.

But both admit it doesn’t last long into their dates before they start discussing gigs and songs.

Jarrad and Tyla busking on Peel street, Tamworth.(Supplied)

Just nine months after they meet, the couple is back where it all began in Tamworth for this year’s Country Music Festival.

They have 10 shows lined up and are playing at the very venue they first played together just last year.

What’s next for the young artists?

“[Music] started as something we both just loved,” Rodrigues said.

“Whatever happens in the future, it’s just about doing what I love and continuing to enjoy it.”