The Norfolk Island Country Music Festival was the brainchild of Patron Gayleen Snell who in 1993 got a group of volunteers together around the kitchen table to discuss an idea of staging a Country Music Festival on Norfolk Island. The idea behind it was to fill an otherwise trough period in the tourism calendar and to bring together performers and country music enthusiasts alike for a week of Country Music on the island. Tracey-Marie Houia was invited to work with the team and worked in conjunction with Radio FM in New Zealand.
Country Music is no stranger to the islanders! In fact the first musicians entertained the islanders over 70 years ago, with acoustic guitars, violins, ukulele, and of course the piano which most households had. There are some great photos in the gallery of our early entertainers.
The festival caused a great deal of excitement on the island and was staged in the Rawson Hall, seating over 600 people. The original line up was mainly New Zealanders with an Australian Headliner. D’Silverados were the backing band and backing vocals were Janinne Beattie and Marion Burns.
In the following year the program contained a New Zealand Showcase and an Australian Showcase and extended to the Trans-Tasman Entertainer of the Year Award, which attracted another calibre of entertainers. It has been referred to in the past the the Bledisloe Cup of the Pacific.
The second year of the festival numbers had outgrown the hall and so a marquee was shipped in from New Zealand and as it was the first of its kind on the island raised a great deal of interest in the event.
The Trans-Tasman Entertainer of the Year has become well known in both the Australian and New Zealand Country Music Circles and is a sought after award, with great cash and sponsored prizes.
Throughout the years, Norfolk Island has showcased some of the most well known entertainers in Country Music and the Festival is firmly established on the Country Music Calendars in both countries.
The volunteers continue to give their time freely to stage the event and without their enthusiasm and the support of the wonderful sponsors, the event would not be possible.
We look forward to welcoming you to the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival.