Gore, New Zealand's Country Music Capital
I expected Gore to be a one horse town, with saloons and people in cowboy hats wandering the streets with six shooters and spurs. I wasn't far wrong.
Gore is a township near the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand, often mocked by the rest of the country for it's allegedly backwards beliefs and its supposed underground culture. It is also the home of the Gold Guitar Awards, New Zealand's premier country music awards for the last 34 years. Everyone who has ever become famous in the area of country and western in New Zealand made their start at the Gold Guitars, including... um... well, I'm sure there must be some of them out there.
The night of the event was an auspicious occasion, with some of the crowd wearing elegant gowns and black ties (often at the same time), and others opting for the more casual, just-milked-the-cows ensemble. Whatever they were wearing, they were clearly out for a good time.
The first act was a woman with a guitar singing about lost love and spilt beer, or something like that, and this followed with acts 2, 3, and 4 pretty much doing something similar. In fact, it could have been the same song, but I was already well on my way to reaching a happy place through the other thing Gore is famous for - Hokonui Moonshine.
The advent of localised prohibition in 1902 forced many alcohol producers underground, and the most famous of them all was the whiskey being distilled somewhere in the Hokonui Hills. Massive police investigations and the arrest of 30 people failed to stop the operation of Old Hokonui, and today it is produced without fear of jail.
It's a fine drop, too. Maybe someone should write a song about it.