Katikati is officially one of the best towns in New Zealand. That’s what they tell me.
It was a headline I read the other day, and I think what bugs me most about it is the word ‘officially’. Forget what you know – this is official.
A bunch of people analysed census data from four decades, then came up with about as random a list as you could imagine of eight places that are now ‘officially’ the best towns in New Zealand.
In case you missed it, the other seven official slices of heaven are Whitianga, Motueka, Coromandel, Queenstown, Mapua, Moerewa and Opotiki.
I happen to think Katikati is fantastic.
So excellent, in fact, that it is hopefully secure enough in its own excellence to not require validation from a dumb newspaper article about a dumb list.
It certainly punches above its weight from a cultural perspective.
Not only are there events such as the recent River Sounds Festival featuring Swamp Thing and a bunch of others, but they have outfits such as Katch Katikati, who constantly create and promote community events including the recent Avocado Food and Wine Festival, and groups such as the Folk Club hosting regular concerts.
Then there is the continuing Twilight Concert series in the beautiful Haiku Reserve, with music ranging from the likes of funk ensemble The Hipstamatics and those purveyors of maximum rhythm ‘n’ blues Brilleaux, to the more middle of the road sounds featured on Saturday, January 26, when Paul Madsen and his band play songs from the Bee Gees, Eagles and Queen.
Frankly, tribute bands give me the screaming heebie-jeebies, but each to their own.
However, another of Katikati's musical gems happens on the same day just across town. It’s the sixth iteration of Katikati’s very own indie pop and art festival, Live Music at the Lettuce Inn #6.
Let me tell you how it works...
The festival takes place in lovely grounds amongst an avocado grove on the Liberty Growers’ hydroponic lettuce and herb farm at 33 Sedgemoor Lane. Gates open at 3pm, just before the music starts.
It runs ‘til around 10pm.
And, again, there's a plethora of music, from established and up-and-coming indie bands, including Dunedin’s Julian Temple Band and The Something Quartet, and Wellington’s Dam Dans, as well as Bangers and Smash, Birdhouse, Bree Rose, DJ Kitten Witch and Grown Downz.
Julian Temple Band
If you happen to be at the Mount you can get a preview of the Julian Temple Band at the Mount Brewing Co. on January 25.
It's a free gig, kicking off at 9pm, and both shows are part of their 18-stop nationwide tour following a highly successful album release tour back in June.
The San Francisco/Dunedin minstrels are playing tracks from their latest album, Antarctica, which reached an impressive number one slot on the NZ Independent Music Charts and number five on the Official NZ Album Charts.
This is their sixth album and they are well worth checking out, with their raw, energetic, bluesy live shows becoming quite legendary.
Meanwhile, the other Dunedin band on the bill have just released a debut album. The Something Quartet’s Can I Have a Second? is an ambitious venture, a musical and visual collaboration, with six visual artists recruited and asked to create a piece of artwork for one song each. One of the artists, Mishca Rhys Hill, then took the completed artworks and used them to create the album cover.
You can find a video on their website at: www.thesomethingquartet.com and the music is on all the usual digital platforms.
On the art front at the festival, there’ll be installations from Deano Sheriffs, Katja Pott, Jess Covell, Chris Miler and Katikati College art students, and live painting by Indi Martin-Wells.
Food-wise there'll be wood-fired pizzas and other vegetarian and vegan nibbles, but you're also invited to bring your own snacks, along with beverages, chairs, shade and good attitudes.
There are pre-sale tickets available through Eventbrite ‘til January 21 and (limited) gate sales are $25. Some $40 family passes are available on the day or from: firstname.lastname@example.org. Camping can also be arranged for $5 per person, via email.
See you there!