Gig highs and lows

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Queenstown’s summer of live music has left some promoters eager to return but others licking their wounds. 

A series of open air gigs and festivals have seen international artists play at the resort – including John Butler Trio, The Doobie Brothers, Creedence Clear­water Revisited and The Crystal Method. 

Some acts played to almost-capacity crowds whilst others have watched as a smattering of punters played touch rugby in front of the stage. 

The inaugural Earthtonz Festival on New Year’s Eve proved a flop – with less than 2000 people turning up to a 10,000-capacity ground at Gibbston Valley Winery. 

US rockers Creedence only sold about 1000 of the 15,000 tickets available for their summer tour date at the Queenstown Events Centre. 

By contrast, The Doobie Brothers rocked in front of about 13,000 on Saturday. 

Alpine Entertainment promoter Amanda Calvert, who brought The Doobie Brothers to town, says: “It is odd. 

“You have to remember we brought Creedence here only 11 months ago and sold out 14,000.” 

Creedence’s latest summer tour was organised by a different promoter, but Calvert had a hand in Earthtonz. 

“Earthtonz was down on numbers but it was its first year and was kind of a bit of a test case. 

“We are in discussion about doing it again. Improvements would be more of a New Zealand line-up, like a Six60 or a Ladi6. It failed in the fact that we had great international artists but Kiwis did not know them.” 

Calvert believes there are a multitude of reasons why some events are a success but others fail. 

“I think it’s a mixture of the artist, the venue, ticket price and time. 

“Doobie Brothers was just under 13,000 but it was a very good crowd and what we thought it would be. 

“It was in the day, child-friendly and affordable at $89. Also people can bring their own food, so they don’t have to spend $10 on a hot dog.” 

Calvert adds: “Queens­town has a lot to offer – especially in terms of the venue. We will be back at Gibbston Valley next year. 

“It will be a similar genre and two international artists again.” 

The John Butler Trio gig at nearby Peregrine attracted about 3000. 

The strong contemporary line-up also included US soul act Aloe Blacc and the Grand Scheme, and Kiwi solo performer Tiki Taane. 

Taane says: “Queenstown was vibing big time, and early too. 

“The crowd were loud and singing along to all my songs which is awesome and makes for a great gig. 

“Sometimes they were so loud I couldn’t even hear myself, but I love it like that.”