More than $20,000 worth of prizes is on offer this year – more than double last year’s prize pool. Top prizes include a Taramalin Sound Recording Package and $1,500 cash prize for the winner of the Open Category (18 years and older), as well as an Ekka scholarship to the Tamworth Academy of Country Music 2020 for the Junior Category (12 to 17 years) standout. Other prizes include a new performance opportunity for the Junior category, with the winner to sing the National Anthem during the Ekka night show on Saturday 17 August to an expected crowd of more than 20,000 people. The competition has helped launch the careers of Queensland’s up and coming country artists, with previous winner Blake O’Connor going on to tour Australia with country music couple Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley, as well as releasing his debut self-titled EP in June 2018. Musicians aged 12 years and over will compete in the competition, performing two songs on stage at the XXXX Stockmen’s Bar and Grill, backed by Brisbane based live band Southwest. The judges include Dan Biddle from the Country Music Association of Australia, Johnno Keetels from Universal Music Australia and country music artist Casey Barnes. The competition will be hosted by Queensland country music star Brook Schubert.