Marchwood Blues Picnic has become a rural summer tradition


Like haymaking the Marchwood Blues Picnic has become a rural Whakamarama Summer tradition.

It’s a tradition privately created and bankrolled and it’s “heads down, bums up” for Peter Archer, Carol Murphy, their friends and neighbours; the team who provide the hardwork to pull-off the Marchwood Blues Picnic tradition.

It’s an event and Western Bay of Plenty- rural Tauranga tourist attraction now bringing people from Queensland, Dunedin, Timaru and Wellington. What’s bringing them this year is the headline act Tony Joe White, “celebrated country-blues performer, and the king of swamp rock”. Tony Joe is also the writer of “Rainy Night in Georgia” that gravelly, evocative music poem. Peter Archer suggests I check out the Marchwood Blues Picnic website artist’s statement for more biographical information about Tony Joe – but I’ll leave that to you. It’s you I want to know about Marchwood Blues Picnic and Tony Joe White.

Tony Joe White is supported by other performers such as “Flaming Mudcats” and “Black Velvet”. Unfortunately Big Daddy Wilson won’t be showing up this year but Darren Watson from Wellington (also performing at the April National Jazz Festival, Tauranga) will be stepping out and stepping up instead.

I’ve asked Peter and Carol in previous years why they keep doing this? Peter’s reply “a touch of madness” This year, there are no grants, major sponsors, or territorial authority funding creating this event; as Peter says, “they bankroll it”. It’s an event created by enthusiasm, dedication, individual and team hardwork. There is some minor sponsorship such as forgoing of certain site fees but essentially everything is organised and paid for by this rurally living couple.

Ticket sales are going well. This year it’s $80. for a noon to 8.30pm (but it goes on to 9.30pm) social and musical experience. That works out at less than $10. an hour and for a once a year experience seems reasonable compared to the cost of a cup of coffee. You can take your own picnic food and drinks or you can get “food and beverages” on site. (Peter tells me he’ll be able to help ARTbop with any licensing law applications!! )

Marchwood Blues Picnic 2015 in on Saturday 7th March 2015 noon – 8.30pm in the grounds of 316 Youngson Road, Whakamarama, Tauranga. Coming from Auckland towards Tauranga on State Highway 2 you’ll find Youngson Road on your right just after the left turn to the former seaside and now residential area of Omokoroa. There is a right turning bay marked on the roadway. If you miss this turn off, don’t try to turn and go back. A couple of minutes further on are the Whakamarama Village shops and a right turn bay into Barrett’s Road, left into the Old Highway, right up Whakamarama Road then about three minutes up that road is Youngson Road on your right.

Please refer to for information about performers, ticketing, local accommodation etc.

Rosemary Balu


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