Rockers all fired up

The Fletcherz, from left, Damon Spijkerbosch, Sam Maxwell and George Hartshome.
The Fletcherz, from left, Damon Spijkerbosch, Sam Maxwell and George Hartshome.

The opportunity to play in front of a sell-out crowd of 15,000 does not come along every day but two Wakatipu High School bands will be doing just that when they open for international classic rock acts America, Bachman & Turner and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo on Saturday.

The Rock Formation Charitable Trust's ongoing relationship with the organisers of the Gibbston Valley Summer Concert has given talented young musicians the opportunity to play at the concert since it was first held in 2011.

Trust chairman Justin Eden said performing at the concert could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the youngsters.

"These kids are playing in front of a bigger crowd than Metallica played in front of at the Vector Arena two years ago.

"It could possibly be the biggest performance of their lives," he said.

The Fletcherz and Alpine Effect will have 30 minutes each to entertain the crowd before the big international acts get started.

The Fletcherz vocalist and bass guitarist Sam Maxwell said they were used to playing much smaller venues with much smaller crowds.

"That's a lot of people. We're used to playing in the New Orleans in Arrowtown in front of 50 people max."

However, the band members were not too fazed by their big gig and were confident about their ability to keep the crowds entertained. The band would likely play a mix which would include covers of The Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Eric Clapton.

"We will play some of our big anthems. They're there for the music and that's what we will play," Sam said.

The youths are not paid for their performance but Mr Eden said the rewards for playing outweighed any payment.

"It's an incredible opportunity, you can't put a dollar value on it really. The exposure is huge."

The bands also get their own backstage greenroom tent with their name on it and sometimes they get to meet the stars, he said.

"There are also a lot of benefits that are not immediately obvious," he said.

Past performers have had bookings as a result of the gig. Bands get a professional video recording of their performance which they can use to promote themselves, and the performance counts towards their NCEA credits.

Mr Eden commended the organisers of the concert for supporting local charitable groups and non-profit organisations which helped run the event as a fundraising exercise.

"A lot of people think they come in and take the money and go but they don't. A lot of the money stays here in the community," he said.

The Mirror