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Taking country to the island

17 February 2006

Taking country to the island

If you're into country music then Norfolk Island should be on your mind in May. That's when the 13th annual Norfolk Island Country Music Festival takes place.

To tune you in to the action on stage, two package tours are available to New Zealanders.

The first is a travel package that includes return airfares, accommodation, car hire, airport transfers and your country music 'gold pass'. Prices start at $1696* per person.

A second package available exclusively to New Zealanders involves escorted tour packages led by New Zealand country music stars Brendan Dugan and Dennis Marsh.

No strangers to the festival, Dugan and Marsh are fronting a couple of great package tours starting at $1,657[[1] ] for seven days, which includes a country music gold pass.

The tour includes a number of extra-mural activities accompanied by the tour leaders including an island style fish fry, a themed dinner and several other activities.

The two icons of Kiwi country are promising a feast of music featuring international headliner Stephen Pride as well as top-selling Headliner Kiwi instrumentalist Gray Bartlett supported by guest artist Joy Adams.

Other leading headliners include Australian Graeme Connors supported by guest artist Felicity Urquhart who is accompanied by Glen Hannah.

The festival also doubles as the Trans-Tasman Entertainer of the Year Awards. Eight competing crooners from Australia and New Zealand vie for a prize pool of A$7,000 cash plus A$5,000 worth of recording time.

Tauranga vocalist Leanne Cryer was runner up in the 2005 competition, country music's equivalent of the Chapple-Hadlee series! Also look out for 2005 winner Victoria Baillie who will appear as a guest artist.

Jackie Pye from the Norfolk Island Country Music Association says it pays to book early for the festival as in 2006 Norfolk Island celebrates 150 years of settlement by the descendents of the Bounty Mutineers.

"The Country Music Festival is always a popular week and with the sesquicentenary celebrations in full swing the pressure's going to be on. New Zealanders have always been in the thick of it at the festival so we don't want to see your fans miss out.

"Brendan, Dennis and Gray have been big supporters of the festival over the years. There's some serious trans-Tasman rivalry too so the stage is set for a great time for all."

The Norfolk Island Country Music Festival runs from May 21 to 28.

For details on special Norfolk Island Country Music Festival travel packages contact The Travel Centre on freephone 0800 00 88 10 (24 hour voice mail - leave a message after hours), email: , visit .

About Norfolk Island: Discovered by Captain Cook in 1774, Norfolk Island was first settled as a British penal colony in 1788 through to 1856. On June 8, 1856, the island was re-inhabited by a community from Pitcairn Island, descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions. Known today as Norfolk Islanders, they form a majority of the 1,800 resident population. Norfolk Island is renowned for its spectacular coastal scenery, colourful history, sporting and cultural activities, convict heritage and tax-free shopping.


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