Organizers of the Country Music Association of Australia awards (CMAA) have apologized after Lee Kernaghan was wrongly named the winner of the Best Album trophy. The genre's top musicians attended the Tamworth Country Music Festival on Saturday, January 22, but bosses were left red-faced following an awards mix-up.
Host Ray Hadley incorrectly stated that Kernaghan was the winner of the 2011 Golden Guitar prize for album of the year - but the envelope he was handed actually contained the result for top selling album of the year, which Kernaghan had already won for his record Planet Country earlier in the ceremony.
Graeme Connors was later revealed as the winner of the Best Album honor for "Still Walking", and chiefs have now apologized for the mistake. CMAA general manager Cheryl Hayes says, "The album of the year should have been rightfully announced being Graeme Connors. At that point (on Saturday), a great deal of confusion ensued... it was very late."
"There are an inordinate number of people that are involved in the production of the awards. We clearly don't believe that this is good enough for country music, we don't believe it's good enough for the artists. We are incredibly sorry, we take full responsibility."
"Unfortunately... at the end of the awards and with the confusion and the number of people involved, we were unable to get everyone at the same place at the same time. It will never happen again." Kernaghan adds, "The most important thing is that the correct winner takes home the Golden Guitar. There is such thing as human error and this is what occurred on the night."