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Wairarapa Country Music Festival 2018

Tauherenikau Racecourse, State Highway 2 Tauherenikau, Featherston 12th - 14th Jan '18

Jody Direen is headlining the Wairarapa Country Music Festival!

Country Musicians at their best. A fantastic family-friendly 3 day event starting Friday 12th January 2018, through to Sunday 14th Jan.


Background on Jody:

"Dubbed the 'Queen of Country' in her home country, Jody Direen hails from a small, mountainous alpine town in New Zealand called Wanaka. After a solid five years travelling between her home country, Australia and the USA touring, writing and recording, she signed with major record label, ABC Music. Jody has since had numerous Top 10 and #1 singles in both Australia and New Zealand."

Jody is the 2015 Female Artist of the Year (CMANZ) as well as 2015 'Benny' Award winner for Best Vocalist of the Year. Direen has worked under management of U.S talent management company 'Bear Grylls Ventures' and performed a guest spot on the Global Artist showcase at the CMA Festival in Nashville, Tennessee (the largest Country music festival in the world).

Late last year, Jody completed her first Australian tour with The Wolfe Brothers, Caitlyn Shadbolt, Christie Lamb, Troy Kemp and Canadian star Gord Bamford. She has opened for Kenny Rogers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and most recently LeAnn Rimes and Scotty McCreery. Jody continues to tour New Zealand and Australia performing major festivals as well as smaller venues. Her current album "Shake Up" won the Tui Award for 2017 Best Country Album at the NZCMA's.


Background on Cooper's Run:

New Zealand IDOL finalist, Ashley Cooper, singer/songwriter Michael Tipping make up the hottest duo in the Southern Hemisphere! Michael and Ashley began performing as a duo in September of 2008. They started out working clubs and private parties around northern New Zealand, their home. In October, just one month later, they were named the winners of the Rising Star Award at the Variety Artist Club Annual Awards Show.

More on Shanye Harvey:

I was born in Paeroa raised in Putaruru and Paengaroa and have always worked and lived in rural areas, so that’s where my country roots come from, but I never picked up a guitar until I was 21. Most of my adult life was spent living and working in Raetihi where I first got hood winked into performing, and since then I’ve been doing it on a regular basis. Lucky enough to have plenty of good mentors in the music world such as Gary Lucre, Wayne Tamati and Bruce Parr who encouraged me to get up and perform.

More on Legal Tender:

The ‘Legal Tender” duo of Ian Campbell and Moira Campbell have been performing an eclectic mix of country/folk  originals  and covers around New Zealand for more years than they care to remember. Frequent collaborators with various members of the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band and other well known kiwi musicians they have featured at numerous country/folk festivals and concerts. With their blend of alternative country/folk down-home original songs and alt/covers they have entertained audiences from the Bay of Islands to the Deep South. Sensitive guitar/bass arrangements of songs by various artists including Guy Clarke, Holly Williams, Gillian Welsh and Alison Krauss and their own are rendered with earthy integrity and powerful vocal harmonies. They are winners of 7 Gold guitar awards between 2015 and 2017. They will be performing at the Wairarapa country music festival on Sunday 14 January as a three piece with their drummer.

More on Gerry Lee:

Inevitably, the first question one feels compelled to ask Boogie Woogie, Country and Rock & Roll pianist Gerry Lee is whether that is the name his parents gave him, given its similarity to that of Jerry Lee Lewis.

It is in fact one hundred percent real - like the love of Lewis’ music. A full time musician, versatility is paramount for making a living, Gerry says. But he was raised on country flavoured rock and roll, and it remains his first musical love. 

“I always return to my roots, which is that period of Sun recordings in the 1950s. But I also like to add other layers - different chords and harmonies for example - from more recent artists like Elton John and the Eagles, to give the music a bit more zest.”

Stars like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard featured in his dad’s record collection that Gerry listened to growing up. Gerry started playing his family’s stand up piano when he was 10 years old.

“The first song I learned was (Scott Joplin’s ragtime hit) The Sting. I listened to it and started to pick out the notes on the piano. I did take lessons for three years from a teacher. I would run the 5 kilometres to her place from my parent’s farm in the Waikato. One day I arrived early, let myself in, and started playing some boogie woogie on the piano. She heard me and told my parents ‘I can’t teach him.’ I quit the lessons before I got to college.”

Gerry Lee toured New Zealand with his band The Desotos in the late 1990s before going solo in 2002. He’s known for the vitality of his performances, standing behind the keys.

“I got bored sitting down after a while, and getting around the stage is visually more appealing for the audience. I like to bring an edge to a performance, something people can sink their teeth into and feel. I can play for hours on the trot because the energy keeps going on and on. There’s no better place to be than on the stage when that happens.”

More on Leanne and Justine:

Sisters, Leanne and Justine are Masterton born and bred and were long-time members of the Wairarapa Country Music Club. 

From a young age, both girls have had solo success at Country Music competitions from Gore to Auckland spanning 30 years. Both girls describe ballads as being in 'their lane'. Their other passion is harmonies and over the years Leanne and Justine have teamed up with other club members to perform duos and groups. People from the Wairarapa will remember Country Class and Country Connection. Country Class was the support act for Suzanne Prentice and The Topp Twins many years ago and Country Connection performed at the Golden Shears.

Justine has lived in Cairns since 2006 and Leanne is now in Hamilton. Singing together again after so many years will bring back plenty of great memories. Country music has been a large part of their lives and families and they're looking forward to singing back in their home town. Practising via Skype will be the new aspect to preparing for the Festival!

More on Elizabeth Maindonald:

Elizabeth started singing at 18 months, after starting life on the stage in our arms at our competition awards. She could sing the chorus of “Country Roads” at 18 months old.  

At 3yrs of age, in 2013, she won the Hutt Valley Country Music Awards for the youngest competitor.  She was subsequently asked to open the Evening Award Show for 200 plus people from the awards and community singing “Country Roads” (Dad was also on the stage, he had to hold the microphone!)

Elizabeth has sung at the Marton and Clareville Country Music festivals in walk-up concerts for all the years since 2 years old.

More on Tanya Warren:

"Hi my name is Tanya and I first started singing when I was 3 years old around home and family, I then started to sing out in public when I was 10 when a few teachers from primary school noticed how much I enjoyed music and singing and put my name forward to Wairarapa Balloon festival to sing at the night glow and up town in 2001, while doing this I meet a group singing with a few young ones around my age group which was the Wairarapa country music club that I went on to join. Iv then went on and competed in many awards around the country which was so much fun as a younge child cause It was like going on a big family holiday just to name a few Gisborne, Taupo, Tauranga, Mouteka, Blenham including the Wiararapa country music awards. Iv auditioned and entered a few sing competitions on television Like NZ got talent, Homai Te Pakipaki and My country song.

I'm also a new mum to a beautiful wee girl who was born December 2016 so I'm looking forward to seeing her wee face when she sees her mummy on stage. I've had a small break away from music for a while and am set and ready to get back on stage. Looking forward to seeing and meeting everyone."

More on Ngarangi and Terina:

Hello everyone, we're Cotton Candy.

Ngarangi and Terina are one year apart in age and started singing at the local country music club from 2007.

From the age of three and four they started singing at country music clubs in the lower north island competing in awards around New Zealand. They can now be seen performing as guest artists at large public events.

Ngarangi is 14 years old and has been singing at the Wainuiomata country and western club since she was four years old and started competing in country music awards when she was 9. She started playing guitar at the age of 8, She now plays a range of songs. She loves performing country music as a solo and duets with Terina. She enjoys listening to a wide range of country and contempory music, such as Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Tanya Tucker and Dolly Parton.

Terina is 13 years old and has been singing since the age of 3. She has a passion for country music and has been attending the local country music club in Wainuiomata since 2007. Terina started playing guitar at 8 years old with a natural talent which has extended to other musical instruments. Terina enjoys the challenge of more upbeat songs, both playing and singing. With hopes of playing overseas, they have enjoyed travelling around New Zealand singing and making friends within the local country music community.




Certified Self Contained Motorhome/Caravan Parking

Plenty of ticket and accommodation options for Certified Self Contained Motorhome and Caravan parking.  Event open to the Public and all NZMCA Members.

Weekend package for Two: $130.00 (Includes: Three day pass per adult $50.00. Parking per Motorhome or Caravan $10.00 per night.)

Premium Weekend package for Two $170 (includes allocated grandstand seating on Saturday- hugely popular last year) 

  • General: Single day pass adult Friday and Sunday $20.00
  • Saturday $40.00 per adult for the full Saturday which Features Jody Direen, Coopers Run and Gerry Lee    
  • Saturday Premium $60.00 per adult (upgrade to allocated Grandstand seat) 
  • Family Pass Friday and Sunday for $50.00 for 2 adults 2 kids under 16   
  • Family Pass Saturday $90.00 2 adults 2 kids under 16.
  • Additional child over 16 years $10.00 per day.
  • Dogs on leads at all times (only in the Motorhome/Caravan parking area)