Parachute opens for Songstar winner
Queenstown's rising singing songwriting star Holly Arrowsmith will take to the national stage at one of New Zealand's largest music festivals, Parachute, near Hamilton next week.
The talented 19-year-old, who is recording her first EP, will play her original songs on the acoustic village stage at the three-day Christian music festival, the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Twenty-five top international, Australian and Kiwi bands will star at the festival, including headline acts like Switchfoot, Hillsong United, Evermore, Ruby Frost, Newsboys and The Parachute Band.
Parachute Music spokesman Luke Oram said Arrowsmith was one of 60 additional acts selected from 200 bands and singers keen to perform.
Almost 20,000 people attend the festival, now in its 23rd year, and Mr Oram said the acoustic village stage is where the organisers spot a lot of new talent.
"It's played host to Kimbra and Brooke Fraser in the past. She will be playing to hundreds, if not thousands. It's right outside our major Village Cafe and shops. It can end up getting pretty big around there."
For Arrowsmith, who wooed the audience winning Queenstown's highly sought-after Songstars contest in June last year with her own song, Wolves and Moons, the opportunity to perform at Parachute is huge.
"I won't be on the same scale as the main artists playing on the big stages but it's a really good opportunity because it's a doorway into other festivals."
The Ziptrek guide's dream is to play festivals and she hopes to take her music to the United States later this year.
"My goal for the second half of this year is to become a fulltime musician. I'd love to do some little tours around New Zealand, Australia and an American tour.
"I don't really care if my album gets lost among the thousands. I just want to play to people."
She's proved she can do that.
Arrowsmith was the opening act at Invercargill's Shout Festival and played the New Year's Eve outdoor stage, both in 2011, and last year thrilled a crowd of almost 10,000 people as a main stage performer on Queenstown Winter Festival opening night.
At 17, she won the resort's ‘Battle of the Musos', impressing high-profile judges including Split Enz bass player Mike Chunn.
Lately she's become a popular attraction at Queenstown bar Surreal's 'Open Mic' nights.
"I just love singing to people. It's my favourite thing to do.
"I reckon everyone has a song that's even maybe changed their life.
"I try to write songs that are meaningful and hopefully speak to people. If that song can even only impact one person and change their circumstances, it was worth it.
"People might think you're giving them something when you sing, but they're giving you something as well, when they're listening and stoked," she said.
You can follow Holly on her Facebook page
The Southland Times