End of era for country music awards

Organisers of an iconic Marlborough music competition have pulled the plug on it after 29 years.

The Gourmet Paradise Country Music Awards have been scrapped for next year after problems forming a committee.

And it looks unlikely it will return say disheartened organisers.

Carolyn Coles-Ross says the sad decision was made following the club’s annual general meeting last week.

“We were not able to get an Awards committee together to continue.
I’m really gutted as our awards were very successful and so well supported.

The awards are held annually and were expected to take place in January at Marlborough’s ASB Theatre.

Entrants from across Marlborough and beyond made the trip each year.

Each year, the finals concert attracted an audience keen to see who would be named supreme winner following a weekend of auditions.

Carolyn thanked those who had helped make the event such a success in the past.

“Thank you to all those that have travelled and supported us over the years.

“I’d like to wish each and every one of you all the very best for the future and once again many thanks for all your support”.

Singer Laura Lowe, originally from Blenheim, performed at this year’s awards, says the competition has been a great way to support country music.

“I enjoy country music, performing and catching up with everyone from all over New Zealand.

Laura says she began performing when she was 9-year old after her nana took her along to the Blenheim Country Music Club.

“I’ve just entered competitions each year from then onwards.

“Hopefully one day the Gourmet Paradise Awards come back and will be better than ever.

“I really enjoyed them in the new theatre too, it’s a great venue,” she says.

Homeward bound for record bid

A musician who catapulted to internet stardom is hoping her first headline gig will help make her dream come true.

Singer Eden Kavanagh, 24, won fans across the globe after her appearance on the Voice UK went viral.

Now to raise funds for her first album, the talented songstress will perform at Escape to Picton boutique hotel & restaurant in Picton.

And she’s looking to make her dream of releasing a record a reality.

Singer Eden Kavanagh, 24, won fans across the globe after her appearance on the Voice UK went viral.

“I’m making the music and having that polished. I can’t afford to do the recording, yet. Recording is the goal,” she says.

Eden made it through the gruelling selection process for the popular talent contest, the Voice UK, in January this year.

Performing for the judges, Eden had the crowd’s backing and entertained the judges, but was ultimately unsuccessful in her bid to secure a mentor.

Eden says the song she performed on The Voice UK will feature at her upcoming gig.

She says it would be a “crime” not to perform Megan Hilty’s ‘They Just Keep Moving The Line’ for a New Zealand audience.

“It’s going to be a very intimate setting, candlelight, the piano outside in the courtyard,” she says.

Since performing on the popular UK television show, Eden has been using her talents for the greater good.

She took part in the ‘This is who we are’ charity concert at the SkyCity Theatre in Auckland  to raise funds for the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

Recently, she was a guest judge at the Voice of China South Island regional finals in Christchurch.

“The emotion and performances were unreal and I was honoured to be a part of it,” she says.

“I was honoured to show my support for victims and families affected by those horrific attacks.”

Eden  will be accompanied by accomplished jazz pianist Jack Page at her June gig.

“Jack’s brilliant,” Eden says.

“We have brilliant chemistry, I’m very happy to have him on board, that’s for sure.”

An Evening with Eden is on 1 June in Picton. Photo: Supplied.

Eden will also perform a mix of contemporary and classic songs.

“Songs that I resonate with, that have stories,” she says.

“It’s nerve-wracking but exciting”.

Eden says she hopes Marlburians would come out and “support a local girl and her dreams.”

“I hope to see a lot of familiar faces there,” she says.

‘Evening with Eden Kavanagh’ is on 1 June at Escape to Picton.

Tickets are $25.

A return bus will be operating from the iSite in Blenheim for $15.

Shop sale music to their ears

A legacy of music in Marlborough is set to continue as the region’s only music shop changes hands.

Ken Hams MusicWorks Blenheim has been sold and the store is set to join the nationwide Rockshop and KBB Music network.

The Scott St store will soon close for a refit and restock as the store gets painted in Rockshop’s trademark blue.

New technology will also play a big part in the store so customers can access the store’s whole online catalogue.

Current owner Ken Ham says it is important to him that whoever bought the store would continue to look after musicians in Marlborough.

“I am delighted to announce that we have been able to pass our business on to The Rockshop.

“I know that the musicians of Marlborough will be well looked after and continue to be supported at every level,” he says.

Rockshop have a store in Nelson and had no plans to expand into Marlborough – until they realised the region would be left without a music shop.

Founder and managing director Mick Webb says it is a “privilege” to follow in the former owners’ footsteps.

“We have the same deep, fundamental, connections in the NZ musical community – and the same passion for music – that Ken, Karenne and their team brought to their region.

“We have respect and admiration for what they have achieved and their absolute commitment to generations of musicians in the province.

“It is our privilege to be there for the musicians and we look forward to continue their legacy in Marlborough,” he says.

Established in 1986, The Rockshop has long be a supporter of Blenheim’s Southern Jam event.

KBB Music – established in 1888 will focus on the piano, keyboards, brass and stringed instruments side of the business, as well as print music and tutorial resources.

Mick say he’s confident the new-look store “knows what musicians need”.

“All the directors and executives are musicians, most with regular gigs on top of their day to day executive roles. We know what musicians want and what they need: we will deliver that to Marlborough by keeping the store open in Blenheim.”

Manager and muso Bett Wells travelled from Christchurch to Blenheim yesterday to oversee the changes.

“This is the 27th store development I have over seen and I don’t envisage any issues.”