Dobbyn warmed up for Winter Fest

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Kiwi music legend Dave Dobbyn reckons he’ll be better-prepared for his highly anticipated Winter Festival gig after previous bad experiences.

The award-winning singer/songwriter last played at the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival many years ago and still remembers how cold he was while performing.

“It was freezing – we had those big gas heaters blasting at us and my guitar was out of tune in the cold,” he recalls.

Dobbyn also played at Coronet Peak in the winter of 2000, when Sir Peter Snell was coming down from the top of the mountain with the Olympic Torch ahead of the Sydney Olympic Games.

“I was standing on this block of ice with a microphone and I could hardly play the guitar, my fingers felt like stumps. I had to sing Loyal as Sir Peter was heading past, it was quite surreal really.

“It was a bit of struggle but I think I’ll be fine with that now. Having visited Antarctica [in 2010] I’ll know how to stay warm now. I’m just a tougher old bugger,” he laughs.

The Be Mine Tonight singer is the major attraction at Winter Festival’s opening party on June 21. He’ll take to the stage at Earnslaw Park to perform his classic Slice of Heaven before the festival officially opens with a spectacular fireworks display over Queenstown Bay. Dobbyn and his band will then return to the stage to perform his greatest hits.

The Kiwi legend is planning an “up-tempo” set to keep the crowd warm from the freezing temperatures: “We’ll pull out some rockers and give people a good time.”

Dobbyn says it didn’t take much convincing to get him to agree to playing in the resort.

“They asked me and we said ‘yes’ – it’s that simple really. I’m really looking forward to it. Queenstown’s one of my favourite parts of the country. It’s beautiful.”

Dobbyn says he gets approached all the time to play around the country and has to be selective.

“Winter Festival really goes off in Queenstown. It’ll be a hoot. We’ll rise to the occasion and we’ll give you a good show.”

Dobbyn’s also looking forward to “plummeting down a mountain somehow” during his stay.

“Probably not on skis though – my last attempt at skiing I went backwards about 30 miles an hour and crashed over a mogul,” he says.

“I’ll probably try something like a toboggan, or if the weather’s clear I’ll try something like a parachute.”

This year is a busy year for Dobbyn, who’s planning a nationwide tour and a European tour while helping young musicians and working on his latest album, due out later in 2013.

Dobbyn’s most-recent album, Anotherland, was released in 2008.

“It’s been a while,” the 56-year-old concedes.

“I’m an indie artist now, I don’t have a record company. That’s quite a good thing, in this modern age with everything online, independent.

“It’s pretty exciting at the moment, a great year.”