Buskers vie for Freeze Ya Bits Off glory

Rocking the stage are Nelson’s Harmony Hunters. The group won the open group section in the...
Rocking the stage are Nelson’s Harmony Hunters. The group won the open group section in the Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking Competition finals at the weekend. PHOTO: VALU MAKA
Country music hit the streets of Gore for the Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking Competition finals, held at the weekend.

Finalists competed in three categories — open individual, open group and under 14.

Winner of the open individual section Charlie De Woeps (17), of Dunedin, played Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.

"It’s the song I do when I’m at gigs, but I put it in my back pocket for emergencies," Charlie said.

While this year had gone well for him, in previous years things had not gone to plan.

"The last time I played I had three to four strings snap on me in the auditions because it was just too cold [in Main St].

"That is why this year I had three packets of strings, but I didn’t need to use them."

He was "elated" to win the section for his second time after first winning in 2017.

Nelson’s Harmony Hunters won the group section, Macleod’s Daughters triumphed in the under-14 section and Carson Smith won the People’s Choice Award.

Event co-ordinator Mishel Kaaplan said the Freeze Ya bits Off finals were a success.

"We’ve had a great crowd and great talent from all over New Zealand."

She appreciated the support the public had shown over the past days.

"It’s been awesome to see the streets come to life with the public supporting the buskers. Seeing all the noise and excitement has been so encouraging."

She acknowledged the judging panel, which comprised Bryan Townley, Luke Hurley, Cheryl Armstrong, Dean Ashby and Southland MP Joseph Mooney.

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