Catlins spoilt for choice
Catlins residents have been spoilt for choice in the last week, with entertainment on Friday night from Neil and Liam Finn, then the following evening by Flora Knight and Sean Donald.
The Finn concert, Where’s My Room Tour of Aotearoa 2018, was held in the old Purekireki Hall, after the acoustics in the Owaka Memorial Community Centre were found wanting.
People attending said the hall’s floor was rocking with the music, which was outstanding, with many old favourites played.
Neil and Liam were accompanied by ‘‘the whanau, most of whom had names ending in Finn’’, according to one person, referring to the backing people.
The old hall has no power, so generators were brought in to provide light and sound.
Portaloos were also available outside, as was a bar providing drinks.
The hall only fits a maximum of 200 people and was sold out days before.
It’s not often people here get a chance to see an act as famous as Neil Finn.
The tour took place in small and large places the length of New Zealand from Piha in the north to Purekireki in the south. Ours was the second last show, with one at Milton the following night.
On the Saturday, I was present when Flora Knight and Sean Donald put on a fiddle and guitar performance at the Owaka Memorial Community Centre.
They played to about 50 people with predominantly American country music, which was a mix of traditional country, bluegrass, jug band, Louisiana-style, interspersed with older songs and the New Zealand class Blue Smoke and joking asides or fillers.
They were joined at one stage by Bill Clemmer with her harmonica.
The audience was foot and handtapping throughout and one brave couple, Alma Collins and Andrew Dauman, took to the dance floor behind the audience when invited, and showed great fluidity with their waltzes and quicksteps.
In contrast to the Finn show, this one was at the start of the Arts on Tour programme, which takes in 20 other venues as far north as Kaitaia and ending on February 27 at Fairlie.
There is only one other tour arranged for Showtime in The Catlins, according to organiser Mary Sutherland, towards the end of the year.
Flora Knight and Sean Donald.