Country festival wins top award
A country music festival created from scratch by a Waitara couple was named as the region’s top event during the TSB Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.
The Taranaki Country Music Festival won the Events and Attractions Excellence Award during the evening, which came as a bit of a surprise says Jocelyn Tuahine, who founded the festival along with her husband George.
The avid country music fans held the first festival last year, which attracted hundreds of people from all over New Zealand. The festival will now be held annually.
Jocelyn says the judges were impressed with the festival’s grassroots origins.
“I think it was because we started it from scratch with nothing and we succeeded. They were really impressed with the people we brought into the region.”
Jocelyn says George couldn’t make the awards night as he was out playing a gig, but he cried when he heard the news.
“There is a lot of enjoyment in bringing top artists to the region as well as the opportunity to promote country music.”
Last year award winning yodeller Australian Laura Dowding headlined the festival and this year it will be well-known Kiwi country musician Suzanne Prentice.
Jocelyn says when the headline act was announced, more than 100 tickets flew out the door.
“People are really looking forward to seeing her perform.”
Promotional concerts are held during the year to build up the profile of the festival and raise money to pay for the artists and the team behind the event have worked hard all year round to organise the summer event. The team has some Stratford talent, including Jo Jones who is the chord chart coordinator as well as stage manager Lindsay Berquist. Lepperton’s Brenda George is on the organising team as well as Char Martin, Carol Digby and Joe Martin.
■ Taranaki Country Music Festival’s next concert is at the New Plymouth Club on November 17 from 7pm, and tickets cost $15.
The Taranaki County Music Festival is being held from February 15-17 at the Waitara Memorial Hall next year. For more information go to taranakifestival.co.nz
Taranaki Country Music Festival co-founder Jocelyn Tuahine is pictured with Char Martin and Carol Digby.