New Zealand Acts, Venues Switch On Again
With New Zealand lifting all coronavirus restrictions June 8 after a 10-week lockdown, the live sector returned months earlier than expected. All performers are homegrown: internationals are still not allowed into the country.
“I thought we’d be closed until January,” said Robbie Macrae, director of Auckland Live whose venues include The Civic, Mt. Smart Stadium, Auckland Town Hall and Western Springs Stadium. Instead it had almost 70 events listed on its website from late June onward, starting with contemporary and classical music, then dance and ballet, followed by opera and theatre.
Many smaller venues had been preparing for their return since May, when 31 of them joining a crowd-funding campaign Our Venues NZ. The most successful was Auckland’s Whammy Bar which raised A$50,000 ($31,084) in eight hours. A new target of A$100,000 ($62,180) was exceeded.
The A$25,000 ($15,545) raised by Wellington’s hard rock Valhalla went to rent and utilities, with owner Val Knut’s strategies including donations, merchandising, and subscriptions that provided perks at future touring shows and advance purchase of drinks redeemed when it reopened.
20-year old NZ-based global pop sensation Benee, of “Supalonely” fame, will hit four cities around the country Oct. 2 to 17.
The Beths play an album launch at Auckland’s Powestation July 11, a day after new album Jump Rope Gazers drops and are then at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin November 20 and Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium November 22.
Drum and bass outfit Shapeshifter does national dates October, while Th’Dudes’ rescheduled run in November already added an extra date.
The first post-restrictions festival, Selwyn Sounds on South Island, went to market June 22 to stage March 6.
Wellington EDM event Breaking Beat launched half a dozen shows, with the first on July 26 needing to be upgraded to a larger venue when 1400 tix sold out in minutes. Its promoter Chris Keimig expected to take a loss for the first few months but admitted “It’s a great feeling knowing people are ready to come back out and experience live music again.”