NZ Gold Guitar Awards: Thousands gather in Gore

The Southland town of Gore is overflowing this weekend, with thousands venturing south for the 44th Annual Gold Guitar Awards.

The popular country music awards attract singers and musicians from across the country.

Buskers lined the main shopping area in a unique sing-off. Some were experienced, others enthusiastic amateurs, and it wasn't all country twang.

The winter outdoors contest is aptly named "Freeze Ya Bits Off".

Visiting judge Taylor Fletcher, from Australia's Tamworth Festival, reckons their buskers have it a little easier.

"It's not quite as cold; it's usually 40-plus degrees when we have our buskers on, so a little bit different," she says.

The flagship Gold Guitar Awards were being judged indoors, with performers auditioning in three halls around town.

A near-record 700 entries are being showcased across the big weekend, and the supreme winners will be revealed on Sunday night.