SHARE
Excited... Gore District Council events and promotions officer Emma Carle is excited at the prospect of turning Gold Guitar Awards weekend into a country music festival. PHOTO: MARGARET PHILLIPS

Joining resources to create a festival encompassing the MLT New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards and a host of complementary events is starting to turn into reality.

The Mataura Licensing Trust, Gore District Council and Gore Country Music Club are behind the move to broaden the awards’ format.

The awards committee, which is made up of members of the country music club, is tasked with organising the awards.

Moves to make the event more of a festival began this year with the revamped Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking competition, which was staged along the lines of a street party outside the Thomas Green Public House and Dining Room, country music club president Julie Mitchell said.

“So it will have these events plus many more,” Mrs Mitchell said.

The club welcomed the collaboration between the three organisations.

There had been confusion about the Gold Guitar Awards, held over Queen’s Birthday weekend and people thought all the events were organised by the awards committee.

The festival concept would allow other organisations such as GoRetail to become involved, she said.

The festival plans came after a study by council events and promotions officer Emma Carle, over the past two years, of events in the town throughout the year and the groups involved in staging them.

While it felt like the evaluation process was taking a long time, the benefits were beginning to be realised, Mrs Mitchell said.

The standard of performance in the awards finals had lifted dramatically over the past several years.

“It’s changed.”

Making the most of opportunities might mean retailers chose to open on the Sunday of the awards weekend.

First-time visitors to the events had given glowing reports to organisers, Mrs Mitchell said.

“I think people were buzzing,” she said.

Every year there was an influx of people from throughout New Zealand.

Ms Carle said one of the recommendations to come out of previous discussions was to have a more co-ordinated country music festival.

With that in mind the council became more involved in the Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking competition this year.

The idea of creating a festival would be discussed with all those involved soon, she said.

There was definitely room to add events and to create a real festival vibe.

Having enough events to cater for all tastes was achievable.

She was also keen to have events that would appeal to residents as well as visitors, Ms Carle said.

“I think Gore nationally is known as the home of country music and I think this is something we should be capitalising on.”