Live performances by Rotorua artists celebrating this year's Music Month have been a hit online, gaining thousands of views.

Although the programme has been a little different this May, Rotorua has continued to take part in celebrating New Zealand Music Month.

The celebrations from a distance have included a range of live music from local and national artists for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own home.

Every Friday in May people have been able to listen to and be inspired by local musicians performing live on the @RotoruaEvents Facebook page.

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Moana Opal is performing some of her original songs this evening at 8pm.

Opal lives in Rotorua and her music developed when studying at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology under the tutelage of jazz pianist, Ben Wilcock, who was the first Music Month performer this year.

Moana Opal is performing live online this evening. Photo / Supplied
Moana Opal is performing live online this evening. Photo / Supplied

Rotorua NZ Music Month co-ordinator Bobby Howard says they have been overwhelmed with the number of people tuning in to watch on the night or view afterwards.

"We have reached audiences across the world through the power of the internet.

"Our five performances over the month have netted over 32,000 views and we still have great shows happening this weekend."

Also this year, on New Zealand Music Month's 20th anniversary, Rotorua launched Te Manu Tito Waiata Rotorua Song Writing Competition with a prize of $1000 up for grabs.

Aimed at local musicians, songwriters, composers and lyricists, this competition aimed to inspire local artists to get creative and write a song.

Bobby says they have had more than nine entries so far.

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"They have been from a range of performers and it will be great to hear them all."

The deadline for entries is today and the winner will be announced next Friday, June 5.

She says judging any kind of art is hard, but they want to nurture and support all those that entered.

"We know there is a lot of talented songwriters in our region and putting your music out there for critique can be difficult.

"The songs are an extension of the artist, an insight into their thoughts and life experience - it's a vulnerable space but a powerful one when the listener can connect with it too."

Bobby says it has been exciting to be able to showcase talented locals despite Covid-19 restrictions.

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"And we have probably been able to share Rotorua music with more people than normal, which means some great learning for future NZ Music Month celebrations."

- The Rotorua NZ Music Month finale this weekend is hosted by the Bay of Plenty Blues Club. Starting tomorrow, people can watch a wide range of virtual performers from some of the best Blues players in New Zealand. Watch Blues Recharge live on the @BOPBlues Facebook page.