Coming away from the Tamworth Country Music Festival, Gore’s queen has been inspired in more ways than one.
The Australian festival was held last month in Gore’s sister city, Tamworth.
Devon Millan, who was crowned Gore Country Music queen in 2021, attended as an official representative of the Gore Country Music Club.
She said it was ‘‘a huge honour’’.
‘‘You put the dress on, you put the crown and the sash on and all of a sudden . . .you have to step into the role and you have to be professional and speak a certain way.’’
Everyone there was very welcoming and humble, including the mayor of Tamworth who she met at a treeplanting ceremony.
‘‘I didn’t even know he was the mayor and I was talking to him for so long. He was just so casual, saying he was a farmer.’’
She also attended a gift-exchange ceremony as part of her role.
Gore had sent Tamworth a kiwi book with a kiwi toy, a bottle of Hokonui Moonshine and a kiwi apron, she said.
‘‘They gave us a Tamworth book and a gold guitar medallion.’’
She did get a break from her royal duties and explored the festival without her conspicuous royal regalia.
A highlight for her was the rodeo, which had even inspired her to take up horse riding lessons.
‘‘I’ve always wanted to do horse riding since I was a little girl and I never got around to doing it. But when I was over there, watching the girls on the horses was so impressive.’’
Of course, she had also been musically inspired by the amount of talent there.
One show she went to attracted more than 2000 people.
‘‘The energy in the room was unreal.’’
A lot of the big artists she met were very humble and supportive — many having started out in small towns like Gore.
‘‘I’ve always written songs since I was a wee girl and I’ve never done anything with them, but after going over there, it’s sort of just given me that push.’’
She was hoping to finally get some songs recorded and enter the MLT NZ Gold Guitar Awards, which she had only done once before as a teenager.
Though a new queen would be crowned atthe next Gore Country Music queen competition in May, she was proud to have been an inspiration to the next generation who ‘‘want to be the queen one day’’.
‘‘And you can, because I was literally that little girl.’’