NZ Artists For Australia Country Awards?

Many country music acts who emerged in Australia – including its superstars Keith Urban and Tex Morton – actually came from New Zealand. 

Photo: Mary Andrews /
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Fairgrounds Racecourse, New Orleans, La.

Young artists see breaking the Australian touring market, a three-hour flight away, as the first step to international success. Hence, there’s been strong lobbying for the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA) to make New Zealand citizens eligible for the 2016 Golden Guitar music awards after a 23-year absence.

The awards ceremony happens each January in the country music capital of Tamworth as part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival. The CMAA is polling its members on the idea. At this point, two-thirds seem positive. CMAA vice-chairman Roger Corbett said that a long-term result would expand the country music markets in both countries. “There would be great opportunities for major Australian artists to tour over there in New Zealand and start headlining festivals,” he said.