Buskers the big noise in town

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 01/06/2013
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ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Ron Mitchell with daughters Nicola and Maegan Mitchell, 9, and Eden McPhail, 9, perform together.

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Banjos, accordions, bagpipes and fiddles heralded the arrival of Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking Auditions in Gore yesterday, as the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards festivities continued on the footpath outside shops and cafes throughout the afternoon.

Alfresco musicians will be back on the streets again today from noon to 2pm, ahead of the busking finals at 4.30pm at the Heartland Hotel. The New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards intermediate and junior finals will follow at Gore Town & Country Club at 7.30 tonight.

More than 5000 people have flocked to Gore for the New Zealand Country Music Awards, the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards and the songwriting awards, but for many, the chance to see more than 30 musicians of all ages perform in the open air has a special charm that previews the evening to come.

As covers by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, the Lumineers and Bonnie Raitt floated through the streets, bystanders got a break from the winter weather and enjoyed the sunlight. Many were dressed in the spirit of the occasion, wearing cowboy hats and boots.

Lifelong Gore resident Margaret Duncan had her information booklet with her as she took in the music, which ranged from bluegrass to heavy rock. Mrs Duncan has missed only one of the awards in 40 years and, while the auditions were her favourite part of the weekend, she said she enjoyed the atmosphere of the afternoon busking performances.

Students from West Gore Primary School performed several pop-rock hits as a fundraiser for their classmate Jadyn Barton, 11, who is off to Brisbane with his family in October to meet a panel of medical specialists.

Jadyn was diagnosed with rare genetic condition ataxia telangiectasia at age 4. His mother, Rhonda Barton - who watched the performance with Jaydn from the sidelines - said the two-week trip would better equip the family with information to manage his condition and could help improve issues with balance and mobility.

Many of the buskers on the footpaths yesterday were Gore residents, but others came from further afield.

Ocean Waitokia, 10, came from Ashburton to play her guitar, shake her hips and sing Hound Dog, by Elvis Presley, while across the street Jayden Jesudhass, 8, came with his family from Dunedin to impress crowds with power ballads like Sweet Child O' Mine, by Guns n' Roses.

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- The Southland Times

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