Smooth sailing planning next year’s music festival

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Looking forwards...New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust chairman Jeff Rea is planning next year's Tussock Country Music Festival. PHOTO: ENSIGN FILES

The silver lining to a festival being cancelled is that it makes the following year’s event easier to plan.

The New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust held its annual meeting at the end of last month.

The trust is responsible for planning the Tussock Country Music Festival, which includes the MLT New Zealand Gold Guitar Award.

This year the Covid-19 pandemic caused the inaugural festival to be cancelled.

However chairman Jeff Rea said planning for next year’s festival was going well.

“A lot of the work had been done and can roll over to 2021,” Mr Rea said.

“The line-up will look very similar.”

Up to 90% of the major events scheduled for this year’s festival would happen at next year’s festival instead.

“There are some exceptions and one or two changes.”

An example of this was the Topp Twins, who had been scheduled to perform this year but who might not be able to make it next year, he said.

It was the first annual meeting held by the trust since forming last June.

“It was ironic .. in terms of a report back on the year, we didn’t have an event to report on.”

Three new trustees were welcomed during the annual meeting.

These were Matt Wilson, Roger Bowie and Jenny Mitchell.

“All three of them will be hugely valuable to the board.”

There were now nine trustees and Mr Rea was pleased the board was expanding.

“We were always a couple of trustees short.”

Mr Rea remained hopeful about next year’s event despite the uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Planning had to continue as usual, he said.

International travel restrictions could be a problem for musicians and music-lovers living in Australia.

“You’re not going to come for one week if you have to quarantine for two.”

“We will .. plan that they’ll be able to come and hope for the best.”

The trustees would continue to meet on the last Wednesday of each month to organise the festival.

“We hope it will be well supported and that people have a great time.”

The festival would be held from Saturday, May 29 until Sunday, June 6. Tickets would be on sale in January, he said.