DJ creates live outlet for music

02:47, Jun 19 2014

Every fortnight, for six years now, Dagmar Felber has gone into the dark Fresh FM studio and let her voice and music carry out across the province.

Her show, Musical Montage, has turned live and this Saturday she hosts a winter solstice dance party at The Boathouse.

Through her company, Montage Design, Felber is the designer behind all sorts of Nelson publications, including the pocket Bike Nelson and Walk Nelson guides, information panels, and many of the brochures around town.

But she also loves music, and her volunteer work at Fresh FM is the perfect indulgence.

"I really enjoy putting the music together. I enjoy thinking about what I want to play, making it interesting, and hoping it will give someone else pleasure as it does for me."

She started out wanting to share music with others, appealing to a wide age group. Fresh FM gave her the opportunity to do that, with her partner, Arnott, helping out on the technical side and in choosing some tunes, too.


The show began as "Everything But Bagpipes", that being the only music she didn't like. But she changed to Musical Montage after a friendly charge of musical bigotry.

However, she nearly gave it all up in the beginning. "I didn't get feedback and I would sit in there in the dark all by myself. I would try and give away free tickets and no-one called. Then I thought: It's 6pm and people are watching the news, they're not listening."

Just as she was about to throw it all in, people started telling her how much they liked the show. She found new inspiration, and "it just snowballed".

Now Felber has found a new outlet: Playing her favourite songs to a live, energetic audience.

"I realised that there isn't really a place for adults to go and dance in Nelson. There's Bridge St for the young people but they don't start going until 11pm at night. I've enjoyed Grant Smithies' DJ gigs and some of the things at the Nelson Arts Festival where you can go and dance, but there's really not [regular] places you can do that. I thought I'll give it a go and see if it works."

She's had two live gigs at The Boathouse so far, and both worked well. More people than she expected showed up and the atmosphere was "really good". "It was a combination of the people, them enjoying the music and a dance, and the venue. It felt like a really nice little party."

She chooses the music from her own collection, as well as scouting the radio waves and internet for more, and takes care to build it through the evening to encourage dancing.

For Saturday night, she's got a bit of Motown, some Ray Charles, Rhombus, Faithless, Roy Orbison, electro-swing, reggae, latin, funk, and old favourites. "A little bit of everything."

Musical Montage, The Boathouse, Saturday night, 8.30pm. Tickets $10 on the door. Hear Felber's show on Fresh FM every second Tuesday at 6pm, repeated the following Wednesday at noon.

The Nelson Mail