The Taranaki Country Music Festival has been running in Waitara since 2018. The event won the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce TSB Events and Attractions Excellence award.
“We decided it was time Taranaki held a country music festival," said Jocelyn Tuahine, Founder and Convenor. "My husband George and I are involved with planning, organizing and running the festival.”
“We applied for a grant because Covid-19 had an impact on fundraising last year. People weren’t able to attend fundraising events.”
“Our biggest challenges are constantly organizing funds throughout the year. Physical assistance at fundraising is also an issue, since our volunteers and audience are predominantly retired folk, of an age that they are unable to offer manual assistance,” Jocelyn said.
A grant of $2,500 from Toi Foundation enabled the festival to go ahead in February 2021. Around 450 people attended this year’s Country Music Festival.
Forty acts from around the country performed during the festival. An 'open mic' session was also popular.
“The festival brings in visitors to Taranaki who require accommodation and food. Many motorhomers stay on or make plans to return to the region.”
“We want to help our community by providing entertainment for young and old, and the grant helps us to achieve that. It enables us to invite top New Zealand artists and in the future we hope to bring in overseas artists.”
“We are bringing music and community to predominantly elderly folks who are often isolated from their communities,” Jocelyn said.