Free Summer Gigs Come to Island Bay

24 February 2012

The sultry sound of live music will be floating out over Island Bay soon thanks to a new addition to this year's Summer City programme - ASB Sunset Sessions, which run from 3-11 March.

The Council's Events Portfolio Leader, Councillor John Morrison, says the ASB Sunset Sessions are an experimental new feature of the Summer City calendar.

"We thought we'd try something different this year. We have a lot of families living in Island Bay and other south coast suburbs that may not find it easy to make the trip into Gardens Magic at the Botanic Garden, but will stroll on down to Shorland Park, especially with the earlier start times.

"You only have to look at the thousands of people who turned up to the Island Bay Festival a few weeks back to see there's an appetite for these kind of suburban events," says Cr Morrison. "If the Sunset Sessions are successful we may look at putting on something similar in other suburbs in future Summer City programmes."

There's something for everyone with 11 free performances in just over a week.

Singer-songwriter Ria Hall will be the first to perform on Saturday 3 March at 6.00pm. Ria captivated millions of people around the world with her stunning performance at the opening of Rugby World Cup 2011 and will be joined this time by Matthew Pickering, a multi-instrumentalist folk-pop artist.

Other artists confirmed are Sophie & the Realistic Expectations, Jeep Road and Myele Manzanza and the Estobahn Eclectic.

ASB has also generously come on board to support the ever-popular ASB Gardens Magic concerts in the Botanic Garden, which will run nightly from 14-25 March. A great line-up has been confirmed including the New Zealand Opera, the Roseneath Centennial Ragtime Band and Irish band the Shenanigans.

The Richter City Rebels will also play at ASB Gardens Magic. They play their own brand of 'second line' music and have been described as the ultimate party band.

Band member Adam Page says 'second line' is a style of music born out of New Orleans.

"The name comes from old New Orleans parades - the main line is the main section of a parade; those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the second line. It's really, really happy music based on Mardi Gras brass and saxophone mixed with African and funk."

Apart from the Richter City Rebels, there'll be 13 other bands playing.

Cr Morrison says the later date for this year's ASB Gardens Magic is another experimental change to Summer City.

"In the past, January hasn't been a good month weather-wise for Summer City, and this January was no exception. We think the best of summer is yet to come and hope it'll be a lot more settled in March."