Summersounds a special affair
Kaikoura Summersounds music festival has a diverse range of music for a wide range of people, who come to Kaikoura for two days in January for something of a special gathering.
One half of the Summersounds team was co-promoter of the Kaikoura Roots Festival that finished in 2012, and now Summersounds is building to replace this as a major event on the summer music circuit.
Kaikoura Summersounds festival organisers Leo Harnett and Darcy Sutherland, say the festival caters for a broad range of people with a broad range of music.
In its idyllic coastal setting, backed by mountains and near the beach, it attracted 2000 people last January.
‘‘ Kaikoura Summersounds really is about the music, not posing.
‘‘The site is fantastic, facing the mountains, next to the beach,’’ says Sutherland.
‘‘We’ve chosen every act for a reason and across many genres - funk, dub, blues and reggae. Ours is a small festival and we have the luxury of making it more personal,’’ he says.
‘‘We get all kinds of people. People you wouldn’t think would come to Summer Sounds.
‘‘We sell tickets all over the world, I can tell you.
‘‘And tourists see ‘music festival’, they’re along too.’’
‘‘Camping is free, we don’t charge anything extra.
‘‘We invite a donation to the hospital fund instead.
‘‘It really is a great spot, and we want everybody to enjoy it,
‘‘We have a full bar, but not just cases of RTDs.
‘‘We always get a good crowd, a well-behaved crowd, a family crowd,’’ he said.
Harnett says he’s glad to welcome back reggae giants Kora, and Ahoribuzz, who wowed the festival last year behind guitarist and frontman Aaron Tokona, perhaps best known from poprock Kiwi group Weta.
‘‘Jon Toogood of Shihad ranks [Tokona] as the best guitarist in the country right now,’’ says Harnett.
Tokona says the festival season seems really healthy and Kaikoura is ‘‘like a summer holiday’’.
‘‘You get the sense it’s getting bigger and bigger.
‘‘ It really feels like a homegrown event, Kaikoura is so non-corporate, not all about advertising.
‘‘It’s kind of homegrown and it’s a beautiful setting.
‘‘I like that when people are in a good mood already when you play, and in a great place like that you’d have to be happy,’’ Tokona said.
‘‘When you’re on that side of the stage, looking out, then touring is like a holiday.
‘‘I remember coming out to play and the moon was rising, the sun was just going down, the dolphins were jumping. Magic spot,’’ he says.
Percussionist Michael Barker agrees and the first thing he says about Kaikoura’s festival, echoes Harnett’s aims for the festival.
‘‘There’s festivals and there’s festivals.
‘‘ Some are just people drinking in a carpark, sponsored by whoever’s selling the drinks. But I’ve been a few times now and Kaikoura cares enough to create a really wonderful site,’’ he says.
Barker is an orchestraltrained percussionist and has played with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,
Last time he came to Kaikoura he was with United States- Australian blues oufit the John Butler Trio.
This will be his first Kaikoura festival with Swampthing, a two- man ‘‘ blues roots juggernaut,’’ with guitarist and friend Grant Haua.
‘‘I’ve played a lot of different types of music, being a professional musician you do sometimes have to play a certain music.
‘‘But these days I’m trying to play more of the music I like.
‘‘What does ‘blues’ mean? A lot of things.
‘‘What is roots? It’s African really, that’s what roots really is.
‘‘I play drums, sure, but also play something called a keebass. It was made in the 60s by hot water company Rheem. Yeah it’s really a ‘ bass keyboard,’ it’s cool,’’ he says.
The festival will also feature headline artists Kora, Tiki Tane, Wellington reggae outfit Newtown Rock Steady and New Zealand Music award winner for best electronic artist, Opiuo.
The Australia- based Kiwi Opiuo has remixed for some of the top live acts around, and has taken his dance electro music to festivals all over the world, including Glastonbury and Coachella.
Festival held corner of Harnett’s and Old Beach Rd, Kaikoura, on Saturday and Sunday January 17 and 18. Tickets are $150. Visit kaikourasummersounds.co.nz
Ahoribuzz: Guitarist and frontman Aaron Tokona brings his unpredictable psychedelic three-piece band to Kaikoura for January’s Summer Sounds Festival.