Costello and Doobie Bros heading to Queenstown


World-renowned bands Elvis Costello and The Imposters plus The Doobie Brothers are headlining a new shoulder season Queenstown Blues & Roots Festival.

The music legends – performing since the 1970s – will be supported for an outdoor Events Centre concert by a string of hot Kiwi musos. They are groundbreaking Fly My Pretties, dub-funk-soulmasters The Black Seeds, veteran blues musician King Leo plus all-girl group The Johnnys, who sing Johnny Cash songs.

The promoters of the festival – scheduled for April 26 – are local publican Barry Ellis and 30-year music and hospitality veteran Grant Hilton who had management roles for 10 years with Australia’s huge Byron Bay Bluesfest.

The pair are hoping to attract more than 10,000 people. First-release tickets, at $99 a head, go on sale this coming Monday.

“We’ve been planning this event for a number of months and can’t wait to bring acts of this calibre to the Queenstown Events Centre, which with its main oval creating many vantage points is a superb venue for the festival,” Ellis says.

“It’s a massive boost to tourism at a quieter time of year.

“So we’d really encourage everyone to get in quick for their tickets and book themselves a good mini-break to coincide with the Anzac Day week­end,” Ellis adds.

The all-day festival, starting at 11am, will include local food, beer, wine and market stalls.

“What better way to enjoy the day than with great food and local wine to go with your music,” Ellis says.

The promoters will also run a busking competition in Queenstown the previous Easter weekend – the winner receives a spot on the festival’s main stage.

California rock band The Doobie Brothers, including 1970 founding members Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons, have sold more than 40 million albums.

They’re performing in Queenstown as an eight-piece including 34-year veteran John McFee.

Their hits include Listen to the Music, Black Water, Long Train Runnin’, Takin’ It To The Streets and China Groove. 

English singer-songwriter Costello, who put out his first single and album in 1977, has released more than 40 albums covering almost every musical genre, including his latest Wise Up Ghost, just two months ago.

The Grammy Award-winner is playing with The Imposters, comprising Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas, who were in his original backing band, The Attractions, and Davey Faragher.

Costello has previously been named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top 100 greatest artists of all time.