Music awards offer a golden opportunity

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 02/06/2012

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The Gold Guitar Awards are also famous for launching artists who have crossed over into pop or alternative rock.

Tokonui girl Annah Mac – who reached No 2 in the New Zealand charts this year with Girl in Stilettos – was one of the performers who grew up with her daughter Taylor Cairns, Gold Guitar Awards committee member Shona Hewlett says.

Cairns, past Gold Guitar award member and one half of the Melbourne-based duo The Heartleys, is home for the week for The Heartleys' album launch and said performing in the awards from an early age had given all of them an extra edge in a tough industry.

"Getting into the finals ... would be the biggest audience [many of us] would have performed for. You look out there and see 1200 people."

If there were nerves in the beginning, eight back-to-back performances – with eight different costume changes – hardened her up fast in the beginning, and made her comfortable with public critique.

However, it's the applause and praise from the audience that gives the competitors energy to continue.

"People come up to me afterwards and tell me they've seen me sing each year since I was 7. It's really cool. This week means so much to Kayla [Kayla Martin of The Heartleys] and I – it's been such a huge part of our lives; such a good start."

Back at the showgrounds on Tuesday night, caretaker Bevan Roy is cooking up a feast for the motorhomers, with lamb, duck, salads and carrots, pumpkins and potatoes from his own garden.

Old friends embrace as they enter the kitchen area, beers are opened and wine is poured into plastic cups as new arrivals are welcomed.

Bruce Weaver, of Nelson, says unlike most motorhomers in the kitchen that night, it was his first time at the event.

His wife had decided to audition, he says, so they were making a road trip out of it.

Roy says one of the reasons he started putting on the dinner was to introduce newcomers to the expanding community.

"Most of these people here tonight know each other but I like to get them all together on the first night. We used to meet in the workshop with the old potbelly stove – this gives us more room.

"A lot of them have been coming for the last 20 years or more. The group is just growing and growing."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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