Queenstown’s New Year’s Eve gig has inspired a musician to fast-track his recovery from lung cancer.
The New Entrants’ guitarist John Ayers was given the all-clear by doctors just last week after surgery to remove a tumour.
The highly-regarded Christchurch covers band will headline the Earnslaw Park main stage on Tuesday night.
Frontman Corey Cross says they’d planned to cancel the gig when Ayers was diagnosed earlier this year – but Ayers convinced them not to.
“He really wanted something to set his sights on,” Cross says.
“We know what type of guy he is so we were confident he’d pull through.
“It was a non-invasive type of cancer and they picked it up by chance.
“They’ve been able to get in and cut it out and he’s been given the all clear – so we’re in rehearsals now and he’ll be there on the night.”
Up to 10,000 people are expected to flood into town for the celebrations and a spectacular fireworks display.
The New Entrants – regarded as one of the finest covers bands in the South Island – will rock Queenstown as 2014 rolls in.
The foursome is a regular act at Christchurch’s huge New Year’s Eve celebrations in North Hagley Park, performing the past two years.
Cross and Ayers are joined in The New Entrants by bassist Greg Mannering and drummer Steve Todd. The band plays covers spanning 50 years – from The Beatles to Kings of Leon and an array of Top 40 favourites.
“We’re a rock band essentially but we cover a diverse range of stuff,” Cross says.
“We get a real buzz out of playing these types of gigs. You know from the get-go people are going to be into it. It’s a guaranteed party
“We’ve been doing it so long we know what to bring and how to keep the crowd excited. I guess that’s why we get hired for these things.
“We tend not to stick to a set list, just read the crowd and go with the moment.”
The live music starts at 8pm with Wakatipu High act Bahip on the main stage followed by Battle of the Musos winners Bird Machine who are also high schoolers and then The Devines.
For fans of beats, a second stage at the Memorial Gates features a non-stop line-up of top DJs from 8.30pm.
On the stroke of midnight, a dazzling fireworks display promises to light up the sky from a barge on Lake Wakatipu, out in Queenstown Bay.
Queenstown band Pistol Knights headlines the stage at Wanaka’s waterfront.