Country music will soon fill the air as the Marton Country Music Festival returns for its 15th year.
Five hundred-plus camper vans and about 3000 people are expected to descend on the Rangitīkei town for the annual three-day event on January 17-19 at Sir James Wilson Memorial Park.
Convener John de Burgh said every year gets bigger and better and organisers expect this year will be the same, with people of all ages coming from around the country.
The music began on Thursday evening with an informal, open mic, walk-up concert to carry out sound checks and make sure everything was running smoothly before the 9.30am start on Friday.
The day will begin with an open mic, walk-up concert where anyone is welcome to get up and sing country music, de Burgh said.
From 5pm to 6pm a South Island family band, Route 66, will perform followed by a concert showcasing several artists until 10pm.
Saturday's activities include a youth showcase, a featured artists concert from 1pm to 5pm and a Saturday night showcase.
Headline act Cooper's Run - husband and wife duo Michael and Ashley Tipping - is travelling from Matamata for the festival.
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"They came and filled a spot last year and went really well so we decided to have them back as the main act, de Burgh said.
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"We usually get a guest artist from overseas but this year decided to keep it all New Zealand artists and we have them coming from all over."
The line-up includes de Burgh, Marian Burns, Reg McTaggart, Kylie Austin, Hired Gunz, Carylann, Ngarangi and Terina Sadlier, Legal Tender, Sharon Miller, Keith Herbert, Jackson Austin, Derek and Lyn Evans, Alan Hessell and Clark Reid.
De Burgh said there will be a gospel hour from 9.30am to 10.30am on Sunday followed by an open mic, walk-up concert until 1pm.
"The thing we look forward to as organisers is people coming along and enjoying themselves, getting together, socialising and having a great weekend of country music."
Along with the performances there will be raffles, merchandise for sale, food stalls, an artist tent and face painting.
Entry is $20 on Friday, $30 on Saturday and $10 on Sunday while a weekend pass is $50.
Camping (tent) or motorhome is $10 non-powered site, $25 powered site (limited) for the weekend.
Children under 16 get free entry if accompanied by an adult. For more information visit martonfestival.nz