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Local music fest to hit high note

Wairarapa Music in the Country kicks off today, with event organisers anticipating this year’s stellar lineup will result in “record sales” for the three-day extravaganza.

The festival – which recently rebranded from the Wairarapa Country Music Festival to expand the range of performers that can be featured – takes place at the Tauherenikau Racing and Event Centre.

MetService’s forecast for today and tomorrow may be flecked with occasional rain, but Sunday looks set to be sunny with Masterton expected to reach a high of 23 degrees Celsius, which Wairarapa Racing Club general manager Matthew Sherry said will be a vast improvement from last year, when the festival organisers had to deal with torrents of rain pooling under the stage.

Still, Sherry said, that still didn’t stop 1500 people from donning their raincoats and having a dance in the downpour.

“Last year it was torrential,” Sherry laughed.

“It rained the whole three days, and yet the turnout was still amazing. But this forecast is looking so much better.”

Renowned country and soul artist Tami Neilson is headlining the festival, while the rest of lineup features many other local and national stars.

Ticket sales and motorhome bookings are looking promising, something Sherry attributes to a cracking lineup.

“Our biggest festival was when we had the Topp Twins in 2017 – but this lineup has surpassed that,” Sherry said.

“With a lineup as good as this, locals should be turning up to see a show of this calibre. It’s not every day you get Tami Neilson here in Wairarapa.”

When the Times-Age spoke to Sherry yesterday, 160 motorhomes were already booked and he estimated about 100 more will be rocking up to the event today.

“All of which is a massive figure for motorhomes – it’s the highest number of pre-bookings we’ve ever had in the nine years of running the festival,” Sherry said.

“It’s hard to know how many tickets we’ve sold because they’re distributed in different packages. But I’m hopeful for a crowd of 5000.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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