Country music has given the world some of the most wonderful and woeful songs — who could forget Johnny Cash singing I’ve Been Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart? — and fans are happy to travel a long way to hear some true country riffs. But where, exactly, should they go?
Tamworth in New South Wales, Australia
The country music capital of Australia, Tamworth
Tamworth, dubbed the country music capital of Australia, is home to the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Despite being one of the world’s biggest country music festivals and attracting visitors from all over the world, the TCMF is firmly-focused on Australian country music.
Musical styles on display reflect the country’s roots in English folk music and bush ballads, and familiar themes include outback life, the beguiling terror of the bush, truckers, outlaws, and aboriginal political protest songs. Visitors hoping to tap into the area’s rich musical traditions should check into the CH on Peel Boutique Hotel and make the most of the music-loving staff’s recommendations before taking the 8-minute drive to Tamworth’s Golden Guitar monument.
Nashville in Tennessee, USA
The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee
After fighting off stiff competition, Nashville is synonymous with the American country music movement. Back in 1925, George D. Hay founded the Grand Ole Opry, the world’s longest running live radio show. A spot on the Opry show is coverted and every year fans flock to watch ‘The Show the Made Country Music Famous’.
Other country music must-sees in Nashville’s Music Valley include the Country Music Hall of Fame, the RCA Studio B (recording studio for country greats like Elvis and Dolly Parton), and the Patsy Cline Museum. Stay less than a minute’s walk from the Johnny Cash Museum at the fully-equipped 21c Museum Hotel recording studio. Here you’ll find everything you need to record the next great country album, or just perfect your cover of Rhinestone Cowboy.
Bundoran in Donegal County, Ireland
Bundoran is one of Ireland’s most popular destinations for country music fans
Long praised for the surf opportunities, the last ten years have seen Bundoran council start to combine their town’s impressive surf-breaks with the locals’ love for traditional Irish Music. This lead to the establishment of the Bundoran Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival and today Bundoran is one of Ireland’s most popular destinations for country music fans.
International musicians who’ve played the festival or one of Bundoran’s live music venues include Decca Records signee Nathan Carter, Johnny Brady and Derek Ryan. Visitors who are keen to make the most of the singing and surf can check into the Marine View townhouse for easy access to the beach and town.
Fort Worth in Texas, USA
High-energy and high-quality country music in Fort Worth
Fort Worth’s reputation for high-energy and high-quality country music is down to the city’s live music venues. Enthusiastic promoters and audiences have attracted greats like LeAnn Rimes and Willie Nelson, and today the city’s live country music scene is flourishing.
Traditionalists will love Billy Bob’s Texas — a traditional bar and self-proclaimed ‘World’s Largest Honky Tonk’ — while those in search of something a bit more contemporary can head across the street to the White Elephant Saloon. After you’ve sung and whooped yourself hoarse, Etta’s Place is a home-from-home in the centre of Fort Worth’s entertainment district.
Doolin in County Clare, Ireland
Dooling in County Clare, the home of traditional Irish music
Doolin is the home of Irish music and its remote location is cited as the reason that Irish music traditions are so well-preserved here. Surrounded by the verdant wilderness of County Clare, nights in Doolin are best spent in one of the four village pubs.
Live music is hosted every night in Doolin, often at all four of the venues, and while performers maintain their links to Ireland’s musical traditions, there are plenty of new acts, too. Visitors hoping to capture the best of Doolin can stay less than 2-minutes’ walk from the village pubs at The Piper’s Rest. Check into the beautiful Keenan room — named after the legendary soloist, Parry Keenan — and tuck into a full Irish breakfast before heading out to explore.
** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at endorsements for ‘country music’ by Booking.com customers. They then found the destinations that were most highly-rated for this endorsement.