Rockers pull the crowds at Riwaka

ALISTAIR PAULIN
Last updated 13:00 06/01/2014

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As the summer series of concerts at the Riwaka Hotel drew to a close, 650 people were chanting "one more, one more" to entice Australian pop star Guy Sebastian back on stage.

Sebastian and his tight six-piece band obliged with an encore and the happy crowd spilled out into summer night soon after 11pm.

Leanne McIntosh was in the crowd for her first concert at the hotel, which hosts some of the biggest touring acts in the country every summer.

She said Sebastian was an amazing singer. A highlight was when he plucked an audience member up on stage to sing a chorus with him. "I thought, this could go bad but the guy turned out to be a music tutor and could really sing. He [Sebastian] really got the crowd going."

Riwaka Hotel co-owner Justin Scott said the show went well although he would always like more punters.

"We always have high expectations and we'd like 2500 at every concert. It comes down to a whole range of things but we were happy with the crowd.

"To put it in perspective, Guy Sebastian will probably have about 500 in Christchurch."

The biggest concert at the hotel this summer was Shapeshifter, who drew about 2000 on December 28. Fat Freddy's Drop and Xavier Rudd both drew about 1000 and the New Year's Eve show featuring Mt Eden with Minuit and Broods drew about 800.

"The lineup plays a big part. Last year we had 2500 for Six60 and it was unfortunate that this year we didn't have a traditional rock show. [Australian hard rock band] Airbourne and Shihad were booked in but the dad of the brothers in Airbourne was diagnosed with cancer so they cancelled their tour. Our traditional market is [aged] 30 to 50 and they tend to be rock fans."

Mr Scott said that apart from a minor incident on New Year's Eve, the shows were trouble free.

"This year the police were not on site fulltime, they left it to us to manage the site so they're obviously happy with how things have been going."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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