The Weekend Sun Competition

The mythical phoenix gains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor.

So there appears to be a certain retrospective irony in Tauranga City Council’s decision to strip the Mount carpark of that name. Even Phoenixes would have a hard time arising from ashes that have been so comprehensively concreted over.

While I realise it is totally unfair to comment on an area where trees have yet to grow, and that all new developments look initially naked, it’s hard not to be astounded at how such attractive ‘pre-visualisations’ and ‘artist's impressions’ could end up resembling an ugly concrete field.

Imagine if someone in Tauranga’s CBD decided that street dining was a good idea so they filled one street with a bunch of clunky unattractive wooden blocks along with flash imported lighting. Then after a week the lighting fell down. Then imagine if no one replaced the lights and all that was left was an eyesore. Luckily, with the entire downtown looking like a construction site, few notice Wharf St anymore.

But what would happen if there was an area down by The Strand that could be used for concerts and was fully covered with grass – what would council do to that?

Masonic Park

Well, it’s still called Masonic Park, but no one uses it anymore and half of it is now – you guessed it – under concrete. Another quarter is the World’s Most Boring Archaeological Site, once a lowly baker’s store, now preserved as a monument to...well, just the fact it existed.

Of course, everyone loves the Tidal Stairs and the baby steps towards working out something to do with all that waterfront. But I wonder what happens when someone gets hurt or – heaven forbid – drowns there? Having long observed the twin forces of human frailty and human stupidity, it would seem to be more a ‘when’ than an ‘if’, and I suspect the area will look less attractive with comprehensive safety barriers.

Damn! I sound like an unhappy whiner don’t I? And all I wanted to be was a happy wino. Better get onto some ‘coming soon’ type of stuff. So how about a festival in Katikati and some bluegrass at The Mount?

Okay. Bluegrass first. The Lonely Heartstring Band, the five-piece from Boston, USA, is returning. They played a sensational show at The Barrel Room last year and many folk will be wanting another helping. I was there and I certainly do.

The band is back in New Zealand to headline the Festival of Lights and Kiwigrass Festival and, as those in the know can attest, present a dynamite mix of banjo, acoustic guitar, fiddle, mandolin and upright bass, all topped with three-part harmony and a repertoire that mixes lost classics with left-field popular tunes and their own songs.

The Maes

This time they’re bringing with them The Maes, an award-winning Melbourne duo comprising of sisters Maggie and Elsie Rigby, who present their take on Australian contemporary folk music, once again accompanied by banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar, and of course harmony singing. It is a bluegrass gig after all...

It all happens at The Mount’s Totara Street on Wednesday, January 23. Tickets are $40 from Eventfinda.

Next week the column will be all about Live Music At The Lettuce Inn #6, the sixth version of Katikati’s very own Indie Pop festival.

The day-long festival takes place in beautiful grounds amongst an avocado grove on the Liberty Growers’ hydroponic lettuce and herb farm at 33 Sedgemoor Lane.

On Saturday, January 26, they’ll be showcasing performers from Katikati, Waihi, and Tauranga as well as acts from Auckland, Wellington (Dam Dans), and Dunedin (Julian Temple Band and The Something Quartet). The festival will also feature installations from visual artists as well as live painting from Auckland Artist Dune Terrace. And there’s food and so much more...

Full details next week, in the meantime check out the Lettuce Inn Facebook page where you can find videos and all sorts of groovy stuff.

The Weekend Sun has one double pass to The Live Music At The Lettuce Inn #6 Festival for one lucky reader.

Competition Results

Congratulations to our winner, Richard Wigglesworth!