That’s country, in town
Country music lovers should prepare for hoarse voices, sore feet and late nights with a three-day festival coming to Cromwell. Cromwell’s Gold ’n Notes Hoedown is one of the biggest events on the country music calendar, last year attracting a record crowd of more than 800, as well as about 70 artists from around New Zealand. Event organiser Ferg Mitchell of Cromwell said the event, sponsored by Mike Hedges Builders Ltd, had become so popular organisers had hired a bigger marquee this year to accommodate the extra crowd expected. He started it 27 years ago in the Waitaki Valley but the move to Cromwell Racecourse had made the event perfect for motor-homers who started coming to the event 10 years ago, he said. ‘‘Each year it has got bigger and bigger . . . word of mouth has brought more and more motor homes to it and last year a record number of 150-plus attended the event.’’ Over the weekend there would be daytime busking around town, jam sessions and top talent showcases. Many of the local businesses were supporting the event offering specials in shops, donating raffles and offering manpower over the weekend, Mr Mitchell said. ‘‘We will have the local Lions and sporting groups catering a variety of snacks and meals each day at a basic cost with the refreshment tent on site all weekend plus the other necessities – Mr Whippy, coffee and maybe a wine tasting booth promoting our local wines.’’ Friday night’s entertainment would consist of four to five hours of blackboard artists, with mini showcases running through Saturday and walk-up artists on Sunday. The main event will be the showcase of top New Zealand talent on Saturday night.
All that jazz: The Cromwell College jazz band, pictured, was one of eight that competed before 200 people at the 16th annual Jazz Fest in Invercargill last week. The Wakatipu High School band Best Served Chilled Combo of Ngawai Davis, Angus Reid, Angel Thornton, Nick Foley, Alicia Tickle, Lennart Neugart, Luke Petre, AJ Key, Matt Bradford, Millie Aitken and Bryce Baldey was awarded first place while Dunstan High School’s Dunstan Jazz, featuring Mia Kelly, Sophie Wright, Matt Enright, Sarah Wright, Josh Houston, MacCauley Harris, Max Rayner, Thomas Gibbons and Rhian Ward won best test piece. Central Otago individuals who won awards were: best compere, Matt Enright of Dunstan High School; best bass, Thomas Gibbson of Dunstan High School and best drums, Bryce Baldey, of Wakatipu High School.
Hoedown: Hundreds of country music fans are expected to turn out for Cromwell’s Gold ‘n Notes Hoedown this month.