The cold's not why Nicola all of a jitter

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 31/05/2014
nicola mitchell
ROBYN EDIE/ Fairfax NZ

BIT OF BUSKING: Nicola Mitchell, 10, of Gore, competes at The Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking competition, which is held as part of the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards.

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While many of her schoolmates were in class, Nicola Mitchell was out on the town.

The 10-year-old, armed with an acoustic guitar, was competing in the Freeze Ya Bits Off busking contest, which began in Gore yesterday.

Competing solo in the competition for the first time, Nicola said she was nervous before starting but not feeling the cold.

Her guitar took care of that, she said. "Since you are moving your fingers a bit, they're quite warm."

Around the corner, other buskers bulked up to stay warm as they wove their magic along Gore's main streets.

The rain held off but many buskers traded their cowboy hats for woolly numbers, donning puffer jackets, ponchos and gloves to fight the chilly bite in the air.

Spectators were also rugged up as they watched the more than 20 musicians and groups competing for cash prizes in the annual busking contest.

Event manager Trudie South said numbers were on par with last year, but organisers were still hoping for a rush of last-minute entries this morning.

On the music front, country stalwarts Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton were popular choices for performers, while other buskers opted for the more modern sounds of Adele and Amy Winehouse.

Even the Topp Twins joined in the busking action, jumping in to performances by Mataura and St Mary's schools for a surprise sing-along.

The Freeze Ya Bits Off street auditions continue today at noon, with the final Dusk Busk Off beginning at 4pm at the Heartland Hotel.

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