FOR the first time in the Gympie Music Muster's 31-year history, the event will include a showcase of New Zealand country blues and roots artists.
Program director Jeff Chandler, event publicist Tom Inglis and the winner of the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival Starmaker award, Kaylee Bell, have just returned from Auckland where they unveiled the initiative.
They announced From Across the Ditch - A New Zealand Showcase to Air New Zealand representatives, artist managers, booking agents, festival directors, travel agents as well as media and subscription television representatives.
Country music is not a prominent genre in New Zealand, so much so that the country does not have music festivals similar to the Gympie Music Muster.
"Country music really isn't a big thing over there which is a real shame because they have some great talent," Mr Chandler said.
"That's probably why we see a lot of them coming over to Australia to compete in the talent quests and competitions the festivals here offer."
However despite this, Mr Chandler said the showcase event received a high level of interest from those who
attended and he hoped they would sell a few tickets to New Zealanders this year and build on it in future years.
The event was given coverage on national New Zealand breakfast television show, Good Morning, where Kaylee performed her latest hit single, Heart First.
Kaylee is one of these talented New Zealand artists who moved to Australia to further their musical careers.
Aged just 23, she was the first Kiwi to win the Tamworth Starmaker award since Keith Urban in 1990.
"It was very exciting for us to be able to take Kaylee over to Auckland with us and show everyone what she has achieved in Australia," Mr Chandler said.
He hopes the muster will continue to provide exposure for New Zealand country
music artists and the partnerships with the New Zealand local media and travel industry will grow.
NEW Zealand Country Artists performing at the Gympie Music Muster as part of From Across the Ditch - A New Zealand Showcase:
- Kaylee Bell
- Aly Cook
- Billy TK Jnr
- The Sou'Westers
- Tami Neilson
- Kylie Price
n Camille & Stuie French