Roots festival's 10th Waitangi concert

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 12:25 31/01/2013
Southland Times photo
LOUISE BERWICK/Fairfax NZ
Taramea Bay Soundshell Trust event co-ordinator Karen Bickley and secretary Cazna Gilder have spent the past month six months organising Riverton's Waitangi Day Music Festival.

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What started as a reggae festival to celebrate Bob Marley's birthday has come a long way in the past decade, with organisers hoping to see it continue to grow.

Riverton's Waitangi Day Music Festival - on again next Wednesday - has called the Riverton Soundshell home for the past 10 years, attracting hundreds of people to town each year.

But the organisers of the festival said they still need the community support to ensure the festival would be here for another decade.

''We can't keep running it if nobody comes,'' Taramea Bay Soundshell Trust secretary Cazna Gilder said.

It is the perfect occasion for families and groups of friends to take a picnic, enjoy the beach setting and listen to some Southland artists, she said.

Stalls and food would be available, and there was even freedom camping for those who did not want to drive home at the end of the evening, she said.

Previous years had seen a poor turnout due to bad weather, but the trust had organised for the venue to move inside if the weather was unfavourable this time around.

The event had evolved from an afternoon of reggae to a celebration of Kiwi music and homegrown flair in the past 10 years and it gave emerging artists the chance to showcase their talent, she said.

''It's a New Zealand roots festival.''

The festival will showcase everything from the local primary school kapa haka group to blues and even rock, event co-ordinator Karen Bickley said.

The community had got behind the festival, with the rugby club providing security, family and friends on the gates and funding from the Community Trust of Southland and Manatu Taonga - Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

We would love to see the festival grow and host acts like Anika Moa and the Black Seeds in the years to come, she said.

But in the meantime she hoped people would make the most of a day off and enjoy listening to some Riverton talent.

''Come along with your friends and relax, and just have a good day.''

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- The Southland Times

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