Queen’s Birthday Weekend 2016 will see and hear the inaugural Mercury Bay Music Festival. Featured artists for the festival, including Don McGlashan, Mel Parsons, Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, Miho’s Jazz Orchestra and Wellington band Hobnail, will perform concerts on both Saturday and Sunday at both venues. On Sunday morning there will also be a gospel music concert organised by another featured performer, Anita Prime, at the Crossroads Encounter Fellowship Church in Whitianga.
The Mercury Bay Business Association is right behind the inaugural Mercury Bay Music Festival, being held in Whitianga over Queens Birthday Weekend. Association chair Gary Fitzsimmons says, “We are very supportive of the Music Festival, it’s a fantastic idea and a huge opportunity for Mercury Bay businesses in winter when we are quieter and every extra visitor is a valuable customer.”
Jan Wright, chair of Creative Mercury Bay which is the driving force behind the new festival, says their aim was to create a community focussed festival. “We wanted to hold an event that everyone could be part of and enjoy and would also have benefits for our local businesses in their off season. It will be an incentive for bach owners to come up for the long weekend and for visitors to come here in winter and see that Whitianga is a great place to come all year round – not just for a summer holiday”, she said. “It will also be an inspirational event for our young people and musicians of all abilities, with workshops being held throughout the weekend.” The festival is a mix of musical genres chosen for their wide appeal to both music aficionados and the general public alike. Over 37 acts have been booked, with styles ranging from acoustic guitar, jazz, blues, country folk, urban funk, flamenco, soul, big band and everything in between. “With the style and quality of music available at the festival it will attract the type of people who are the Business Association’s target market, who’ll return each year for the event and bring their friends,” said Fitzsimmons. The main venues for the festival are all indoors so the possibility of bad weather over Queen’s Birthday weekend will not be a problem. Both the Whitianga Town Hall and Blue Lagoon venues will be licensed for the event. There will be a variety of accommodation available, from holiday homes and motels to a designated area for self-contained motor vehicles. In an example of how local businesses are supporting the event, the Whitianga Waterways has made an area available to members of the NZ Motor caravan Association for parking while they are attending the festival. Starting on the evening of Friday June 3, the first concert will feature local musicians in the Whitianga Town Hall, Monk St. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings the music will begin around 11am with performances in both the Town Hall and the Blue Lagoon on The Esplanade behind the Mercury Bay Game Fishing Club.
Featured artists for the festival, including Don McGlashan, Mel Parsons, Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, Miho’s Jazz Orchestra and Wellington band Hobnail, will perform concerts on both Saturday and Sunday at both venues. On Sunday morning there will also be a gospel music concert organised by another featured performer, Anita Prime, at the Crossroads Encounter Fellowship Church in Whitianga.
Workshops will be run over the weekend by participating artists including Don McGlashan, (song writing) Richard Gilewitz (guitar), Caitlin Smith (vocal styles) and the Big Muffin Serious Band taking one of their famous ukulele workshops. Another attraction at the festival will be the Young Guitarist Award with participants coming from all over New Zealand to compete for a place at the Tommy Emmanuel Guitar Camp in New York later that month. There will also be buskers and open mic sessions – where you might be among the first to spot the next big talent. “Having buskers is a really cool idea, seeing people to give it a go and making the town more lively”, said Fitzsimmons, “Who knows, there might be people who come here for the festival and realise this is the lifestyle they want rather than Auckland!” Festival details, more information about artists and tickets etc. can be found at www.mercurybaymusicfestival.co.nz
For more information contact Rhys Mathias or Hilary Falconer 07 869 5342, 0220 188612 or 0220 378132 Rhys.email@example.com (mailto:Rhys.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Information provided by Mercury Bay Music Festival: ARTbop says get on over there. Whitianga is the coolest coastal town on the Coromandel. While you’re there check out the galleries, particularly Bread & Butter and stroll along Buffalo Street And, let us know what you think of Coromandel and the Festival.