High numbers, high calibre

Casey Dixon, of Dunedin, competes in the female vocal solo section at the 2018 Gold Guitar senior...
Casey Dixon, of Dunedin, competes in the female vocal solo section at the 2018 Gold Guitar senior finals last night. Photo: Richard Davison
Organisers declared themselves "delighted" with a successful Gold Guitar Awards last night, which concluded a week-long festival of country music in the town.

A sellout audience of 1200 country fans gathered to see 41 finalists duke it out for the prestigious senior finals award from 7.30 last night.

Event convener Philip Geary said judges had been impressed with the "very high calibre" of competitors, across all categories.

"I know our judges had a hard time picking out winners from a talented bunch of youngsters at our junior and intermediate contests on Saturday, and it’s been a similarly hard task with the seniors tonight. We’ve been delighted to see 712 entrants vying for honours this year."

That number was the third-highest in the history of the awards, which had been running for 44 years, he said.

He put the boosted entry numbers down in part to a "first class" prize package, introduced  last year and targeted at launching the winner’s country music career.

The overall winner would receive prizes totalling $15,000, including a music video shot in Nashville, Tennessee; professional photos; a recording contract; $3500 prize money; and a year’s professional mentoring.

Mr Geary said he had been particularly pleased with the success of two innovations this year.

"We introduced a ‘New Country’ open section for the first time this year, which has proved very popular across all age groups. In addition, we ran the MLT Music Round Up at multiple venues on Friday night, operated by our naming sponsor, the Mataura Licensing Trust, which was a universal sellout."

Both  elements were likely to return next year, he said.

With the country music dust finally settling, he, his committee and the event’s "dedicated" volunteer corps were now looking forward to a break before planning for next year’s event began.

"It’s gone pretty good. No major hiccups, and happy faces."

Intermediate overall winner was Molly Goodeve, of Cambridge; junior overall winner was Gracie Young, of Dunedin.


NZ Gold Guitars Awards 2018 
Senior Finals Results

Highest Scoring Gore CMC Member     Lana Stevens

Gospel     Jaydin Shingleton, Westport

Country Rock     Ryan Monaghan, Hamilton

NZ Song     Arun O'Connor, Invercargill

Traditional     Jaydin Shingleton, Westport

Instrumental     Nick Brightwell, Auckland

Duet     Leea & Braydon, Auckland

Vocal Group     The Wanderers, Invercargill

Band     Valley Bluegrass, Dunedin

New Country     Arun O'Connor, Invercargill

Singer Songwriter     Brayden Jeffrey, Auckland

Male Vocal Solo     Arun O'Connor, Invercargill

Female Vocal Solo     Jenna Harraway 

NZ Gold Guitars Overall Runner Up     Jaydin Shingleton, Westport

NZ Gold Guitars Overall Winner     Arun O'Connor, Invercargill



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