Sister stars . . . Performing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival last month are Nicola (left) and Jenny Mitchell. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

From humble beginnings in Gore, two sisters are moving up in the world after playing at the Tamworth Country Music Festival last month.

Hosted in Gore’s sister city Tamworth in Australia, the festival ran from January 13-22.

Jenny Mitchell, joined on stage by her sister Nicola, said she had been to the annual event several times, but this was her first year having her own headline show.

‘‘I have been playing as an opening act for other artists for a long time . . .so that does feel like a big leap, to be honest.’’

The event was similar to Gore’s Tussock Country Music Festival but ‘‘on a larger scale’’, attracting more than 50,000 visitors, Jenny said.

‘‘Tamworth is the centre of the Australian country music industry. . .so it was really exciting to be back again and part of it.’’

Like Tussock Country, there was even a Golden Guitar awards ceremony, but exclusively for recording artists.

Jenny’s new album, Tug of War, had been nominated there for alternative country album of the year.

‘‘We got to do the red carpet and stuff like that so that was heaps of fun,’’ she said.

Another highlight was watching her ‘‘little sister’’ Nicola play some of her own original songs.

‘‘I proudly sat in the audience for those ones.’’

Nicola said it was a big change from singing with other people and doing covers.

‘‘It’s quite special to be able to go over there and do that in front of so many lovely people.’’

It was her second time at the event so she was still learning how it all worked, but she had lots of fun catching up with her circle of country music friends.

She had ‘‘caught the bug’’ and would definitely be back, she said.

It was an exciting time for her, with new music she had recorded with her twin sister Maegan coming out later this year.

‘‘We’ve got an EP coming out in a couple of months,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a first for us. It’s a collection of four songs and they’re all originals so that’s all very new to Maegan and I.’’

Meanwhile, Jenny was already back overseas, this time in the United States where she played at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City last week.

As the only New Zealand performer there, it had the potential to open some doors for her, she said.

‘‘The people that attend the conference are often festival bookers or other [decisionmakers] from the industry. So you sort of go and do your best show and then hope that will lead to some opportunities in the future.’’