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New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust

Key events organisations – the Gore Country Music Club, NZ Songwriters Trust, NZ Gold Guitar Committee and the Gore District Council - have formed a New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust in July 2019.

“Forming the New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust is an exciting step in building on what is already happening over the week of Queen's Birthday. Since 1976 Gore has been known as the Capital of Country Music, over 100,000 hours of volunteer time each year goes into running the activities and the latest economic survey completed by Gore District attributes approximately 1 million dollars of return to the district.  This is a significant event that Gore residents can be proud of” say Trust Chairperson Jeff Rea.

The Trustees of the New Zealand Country Music Festival Trust are:



Jeff Rea has been involved in music all his life as a singer/songwriter and recording artist, with multiple television appearances and three albums to his credit. He spent ten years touring as a professional musician in the USA and returns annually to perform. He has vast experience in sound engineering, event production and producing albums for other artists. He has also had considerable experience in governance roles and is currently Chairperson of the New Zealand Songwriter’s Trust. Jeff resides in West Otago where he runs a family farming operation with his wife and sons.



Philip Geary has convened the MLT NZ Gold Guitar Awards Committee for 22 years and been a committee member for 25 years. Prior to this Philip and his wife Jackie were keen spectators at the NZ Gold Guitar Awards and then became members of the Gore Country Music Club.  Philip completed a five-year apprenticeship in Invercargill as a fitter/turner. This led to a career as an engineer having 14 years on merchant ships worldwide achieving a ranking of Chief Engineer. After marrying wife Jackie, Jackie joined Philip at sea for three years.  Philip was born in Winton and the oldest of seven siblings. He returned to Winton after his career at sea, then shifting to Mataura and working as an engineer at the Mataura Freezing Works. Phillip retired in January 2020 from the Mataura Freezing Works and continues his involvement with country music.

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Julie Mitchell is a passionate member of the Gore Country Music Club and a trustee of the New Zealand Songwriter’s Trust.  Julie’s early career was with the banking industry and she has 22 years in the real estate industry. Julie was educated at St Peters College and her and husband Ron have three daughters.   Julie has a passion for Gore and Country Music and is keen to see the district thrive economically and New Zealand Country Music Festival contributing to that success.



Roger Bowie is a Certified Advisory Board Chair, and current Chair of the Advisory Board Centre New Zealand Chapter. He is also a writer and music reviewer and a keen Americana fan. He is still shy but not quite retiring from a long and varied corporate career. He has bought, stolen and borrowed 1.8 albums every week since 1970 to amass an eclectic collection, and curates a  monthly radio programme in order to showcases these assets. He lives in Auckland but was born in Tuatapere and is delighted to be “home” and  playing a part in the  success of the Tussock Country.

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Jenny Mitchell is a multiaward winner singer-songwriter and marketing professional with a driven, DIY work ethic. Based in Wellington, but still a Gore girl at heart, Jenny grew up competing in the NZ Gold Guitar Awards where she developed the confidence to pursue a career in music. She is skilled in event management and can’t wait to watch Tussock Country blossom onto the national event calendar. 



Matt  is a musician and producer with extensive international experience working with artists on stage and in studios. Drumming since the age of two, Matt has dabbled with all genres of music including rock, country and jazz - which led him to New York as a session musician where he picked up more instruments and further knowledge of studio production. In 2019 Matt relocated to Southland and to focus solely on music and production, building a boutique music studio in a rural setting, specialising in acoustic / country / folk and has already produced multiple records for local and international artists. Matt's excited to assist in developing Tussock Country into something really special for artists, listeners and visitors to Southland.

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Lana Doublet is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter, and advocate for original music and supporting young artists. While born in Christchurch, where she currently resides, she grew up in Invercargill – which still holds a special place in her heart. Her career spans 18+ years around learning and development, HR admin, recruitment, learning/graphic design and more recently into employee experience. Lana’s involvement in many country music awards and events spans various capacities. She is super excited to join the  NZ Country Music Festival Trust, and be a part of growing the event to attract visitors from around Aotearoa (and beyond) to beautiful Southland.

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A digital music pioneer and active professional within the music industry for more than 35 years, Nathan has served as Head of Marketing at Universal NZ and Head of Jazz at Universal Music UK, as well as A&R Consultancy at Decca Records and Music Consultancy at Vodafone Global HQ.

In 2004 Nathan founded Innate Music to offer creative strategy, project management, marketing and media consultancy advice to artists, labels and brands. Clients have included Diageo, Marks & Spencer, Decca, Sony Music, Warner Music, BMG, Ministry of Sound, BBC Music, EMI Music International, Disney Records, Vodafone, AR Rahman, LPO, RPO, Naim Audio, Gilles Peterson, Dame Shirley Bassey and Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club.

In his A&R role with music publishers Wise Music Group he has worked with many artists including Massive Attack collaborator and movie-score composer Craig Armstrong (Love Actually, Romeo+Juliet), Jocelyn Pook, Hauschka (aka Volker Bertelmann), Barry Adamson (Magazine, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds), Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. In either his A&R or marketing roles he has been involved in many notable recordings, ranging from OMC's How Bizarre to Dame Shirley Bassey's 2007 album Get the Party Started.

In addition to his current non-executive director roles at SoundVault, SyncVault and the Global Music Vault, Nathan is the Chairman of Mahogany Media Group.

Nathan continues to consult and mentor graduates in entertainment and technology. As part of his membership of the 2024 Ockham Collective he will launch a series of diploma courses at The Nix under the banner of The Music Business School.

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