Come Celebrate the Decade that Taste Forgot

8 January 2010

Wellington City Council's Summer City festival is now 30 years old, and it's high time we celebrated our long-standing festival of free events.

The Council's Event Coordinator, Rita Francis, who plans the ASB Gardens Magic series, says kicking off the Botanic Garden concerts with an ‘80s bash was deemed the best way to pay homage to the first season of concerts – back in the summer of 1979/1980.

"What we'd love people to do is to dress up in their favourite ‘80s garb, which shouldn't be a problem – given the renaissance of ‘80s culture that we've experienced over the last few years. Then head down to the Soundshell at the Botanic Garden on Sunday before 8pm and bop the evening away to the Beat Girls. Their repertoire will largely feature party favourites from that decade," says Rita.

Sunday's event kicks off a series of 22 free concerts. There'll be everything from pop and indie to roots and reggae. Jazz and classical music lovers will not be disappointed either.

Rita says over the last few years the Soundshell has been "packed to the gills practically every night".

"So if you are really keen on seeing a particular act, we suggest heading there at least an hour before the concert starts. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket and bask in the evening sunshine until the music starts at 8pm."

Another much-loved feature of the concerts is the lighting that illuminates the trees surrounding the Soundshell once the sun goes down.

"It's a wonderful sight," says Rita. "Usually, as the bands are playing the final half-hour of their set, the lights come on, the bubble machine cranks up and the mirror balls get whirling. It's a proper open air party."

Previous years tell us that it's very difficult to get parking in the area during the concert series, so it's recommended that people walk or get a bus if they can. The number 3 bus goes straight to the Glenmore Street entrance.

For full listings of who's playing between now and the end of January, view the ASB Gardens Magic Concert Series page or pick up a Summer City brochure from stands around town. Listings are also placed in the Council's Our Wellington page in the Dominion Post every Tuesday.