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First-ever Tussock Country Music Festival in 2020

Gore’s traditional country music celebrations at Queen’s Birthday weekend are set to go up another notch, as familiar and new events are brought together in a new national Tussock Country Music Festival.

The brainchild of the New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust, the Tussock Country Music Festival concept was unveiled in Gore this evening (Thursday 19 December) at a special event for trustees and stakeholders.

“Key events organisations—the Gore Country Music Club, the NZ Songwriters Trust, the NZ Gold Guitar Committee and the Gore District Council—have come together to form a New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust and develop this new, lively festival concept,” says Trust chair, Jeff Rea.

“Putting together the Tussock Country Music Festival is an exciting step in building on Gore’s 40-year tradition of country music celebrations.”

The first-ever national Tussock Country New Zealand’s Country Music Festival will run for nine days from 23-31 May 2020.

There’ll be vibrant, toe-tapping events for both Southlanders and visitors to enjoy. The festival incorporates all events that have been part of the NZ Gold Guitars weekend, and additional country music highlights to be announced soon.

The festival will be a gathering place for New Zealand’s country music talent where the breadth of country music genres can be celebrated.

“So, if you’re a country musician or fan, get yourself ready for an extra splash next year,” says Jeff.

“Tussock Country will offer a feast of country music delights for country music enthusiasts, including the opportunity to compete for the MLT NZ Gold Guitar, join in the Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking, performance workshops and professional concerts, alongside an array of other engaging events.”

The Tussock Country brand design unveiled last evening encapsulates the warm, honest, open and proud qualities of country music, bringing together stylised imagery of the local landscape’s natural red tussocks with a guitar, set in orange-red tones.

The New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust’s aim is to increase the profile of Gore and country music, and of New Zealand’s outstanding country music artists. Its trustees are Mayor Tracy Hicks, Philip Geary, Barbara MacKay, Julie Mitchell, Jeff Rea (chairman), and Bronwyn Reid.

“Tussock Country New Zealand’s Country Music Festival represents a new energising, inspiring era for the national country music scene. We’re proud to be embracing this festival concept and look forward to a lively gathering of musicians and audiences from throughout New Zealand and beyond in 2020,” Jeff says.

For performers, event registrations open in January. Ticket sales to attend events go on sale in early February.


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