Top time: LA Social Club (from left) are Ailsa Woods, Andy Pearson, Andrea Cruickshank, Shaun Vining, Lindsay Woods, Tiffany Mitchell and Michael Morgan
An avalanche of Queenstown musical talent kicks off this year’s Winter Festival.
Festival organisers have packed the opening night party bill with top Wakatipu acts after a record turnout in 2011 – even though late snow and the Chilean ash cloud kept overseas visitors away last year.
Festival director Simon Green says: “It was still the biggest opening crowd party we’ve seen in the last decade.
“We estimated about 15,000 people along the waterfront and people were also parked all over Queenstown Hill watching the fireworks.
“It was all about locals. The whole festival is built around celebrating Queenstown, so this sets the right tone. It’s about Queenstowners celebrating Queenstowners.”
The line-up includes powerhouse bands Mojo, LA Social Club and The Master Blasters plus super solo singers Pearly McGrath and Charlotte Graf. Talented Holly Arrowsmith, who won Queenstown’s Songstars songwriting competition last week, will perform her winning original number Wolves and Moons.
In all, there’ll be 14 acts including a spellbinding routine by Queenstown Pole Studio dancers to an operatic classic.
Green says: “We’ve got an amazing collection of local talent but the pool of audience they usually get to perform to is often relatively small. So this is about introducing them to a local audience on a grand scale to show just how good the local talent is.”
Opening night co-organiser Margaret O’Hanlon says it wasn’t hard to fill the spots and she had people grumbling at missing out.
“Queenstown has for so long struggled to show it’s a cultural destination as well as an adventure one – and now we’re finally.”
Mojo close the show with a half-hour set and band frontman Shay Muddle says they’ll be sprinkling it with plenty of Kiwi favourites including tracks from Ladi 6, Tiki Taane and The Dukes.
“We’re very excited. It’ll be a privilege for us to finish.”
Winter Festival’s full opening night line-up is: Shaun Vining, Calico, Sam Hillman, Freefall, Holly Arrowsmith, Queenstown Pole Studio, Charlotte Graf, Pearly McGrath, London Calling cast, Master Blasters, Sequin Sisters, Rebeca Barnes, LA Social Cluband Mojo.
To clarify, two of the acts - Sam Hillman and Holly Arrowsmith (who won the recent original songwriting contest Songstars) - are performing originals on the night.
19 Jun 2012 02:22PMRyan
I hear ya Peti. And I share you sentiment about respecting the artists but it's simple. It's lowest common denominator. Same reason you switch on TV and see the same formulaic talent shows where 99% of what is sung is cover versions. It's disappointing, but I'm guessing the demand is for the hits.
15 Jun 2012 04:15PMkernow
No disrespect to the muso's playing at this, I congratulate them for being able to play, but just as a query... Who chose these acts? Why is there no band that play original music in the line up? surely the town would benefit more by adding bands that are trying to add to the musical landscape of New Zealand rather than just add money to their pockets. they call this a local's only zone but as locals who do you go and support when you want to see live music in Queenstown? would you like to see Mince On Toast, Eddie Letterhead, Ghettoblaster, Panther Claw, Two Buck Titties, Chasing Wolves, Rules of Addiction, AnD and the many more that play actually play, live and breathe their art/craft? or do you go to the bars to hear people play the same songs that the other guy down the road was playing 5 minutes ago? to the acts who are playing their own music i apologize for my ignorance but i will not change my stand point that original Music is completely ignored in Queenstown unless your a part of the establishment and as we all know most musicians are part of the anti-establishment.
15 Jun 2012 02:35PMpeti_crime
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