Free school of rock


Wakatipu parents to launch music society for kids.

Arrowtown dad Justin Eden jokes he hasn’t got a musical bone in him – but he’s serious about his son Michael’s musical future.

In fact, Eden is keen on boosting the talents of all of Queentown’s musical youth.

He and some other parents are setting up an incorporated society, Rock Formation, to help support Wakatipu High kids get ready for playing live gigs.

The idea is to have them primed for the national annual school band competition, Rockquest, in July. “Normally the kids don’t get their act together till a few weeks before Rockquest – hopefully this will encourage these guys to get going a bit earlier,” says Eden.

Rock Formation – which he’s still setting up – will organise local gigs and training workshops for aspiring musicians.

Making it an incorporated society means they’ll be able to apply for funding. Kids won’t have to pay a cent – they just have to show dedication.

Eden says the music department at Wakatipu High is “fantastic” but understandably teachers can’t do everything.

“The kids are all left to their own devices [outside of school] – we thought we could provide a bit of help.”

He’s hoping to rope in some local well-known musos to offer advice for free during workshops on all aspects of live performance.

And he’s planning a concert – Big Break 09 – at the Memorial Hall on April 11.

Eden’s already got a few bands keen to take part.

He’s hopeful the concert will become an annual event and plans to enlist the help of high school drama and art students for make-up and set design.

Winter Festival director Sally Feinerman is also jumping on board by offering the bands stage time for a concert during this year’s Mardi Gras event.

“We are delighted to be able to help,” she says.

“Being able to perform at Mardi Gras will be an important step for their Rockquest journey.”