Country music event gaining momentum

Tussock Country headlining artist Jody Direen.

THE inaugural New Zealand country music festival, Tussock Country, is set to pack Gore to the rafters at the end of this month, with two of its headline events now sold out.

The 850 tickets to the dance-party styled event Top Paddock have been sold, with the show being held at the Gore Town and Country Stadium on May 29.

Top Paddock delivered a dynamic line-up of national country music stars and was a driving force behind the new-country-pop-rock movement in New Zealand, giving fresh meaning to what country music looked and sounded like.

The 2021 Top Paddock artist line-up would include Jody Direen, Jenny Mitchell, Cam Scott, Jaydin Shingleton, Arun O’Connor and Hannah May.

“The Top Paddock sellout two weeks prior to the event is a testament to the fact that the country music culture in New Zealand is evolving, growing and crossing over. It’s a really exciting time for the fans and artists,” headlining artist Direen said.

In addition, 444 tickets had been snapped up for the New Zealand Country Music Awards, a gala event held at Gore’s St James Theatre on Thursday, June 3.

Patrons could walk the red carpet and celebrate New Zealand’s brightest country music talent with a feast of performances from award finalists and special guests.

After a glittering evening of entertainment, award winners would be announced for the MLT Songwriting Award for best unrecorded song, the APRA Best Country Song award and the Award for Recorded Music NZ Best Country Artist.

NZ Country Music Festival Trust chairman Jeff Rea said additional Tussock Country events including the MLT NZ Gold Guitar Finals, Old Hokonui Whiskey & Food Match Event and Tea at Three with Jenny Mitchell were also looking likely to sell out in the coming days.

“Ticket sales are doing exceptionally well. They’ve certainly passed our expectations,” Rea said.

“It’s a fantastic result so far.”

The first nine-day Tussock Country Music Festival would be held in Gore from May 29 until June 6.

It would feature a mix of more than 30 traditional and new country music events, alongside a stunning line-up of professional country musicians and activities.

Tickets for many of the events were available at