Lyttelton Summerfest a pirate's affair
Vicki Anderson talks to Lucette Hindin about pirate parties and fun in the sun at the Lyttelton Summerfest this weekend.
Lyttelton will be awash with would-be pirates this weekend when the port town celebrates summer with a host of events as part of Lyttelton SummerFest.
Visit Lyttelton to dance, drink wine, dress like a pirate and hear some of the nation's best musicians and poets.
Pirates were and are bad people. Even the most casual exploration of the history of pirates leaves you hip deep in blood and barbarity.
But dressing up, and talking like a pirate, is fun. It gives your conversation a swagger denied to landlocked lubbers. Just don't refer to your significant other as a scurvy bilge rat.
Lyttelton Summer Festival is happening because of the hard work of a team of people at Project Lyttelton, which was founded in 1994 to work on the Main Street Project. In 2003 the group changed direction and set about creating a collective vision of the future. The not-for-profit charity organisation now drives such community projects as the Lyttelton Farmers' Market, Lyttelton Timebank, Lyttelton Community Gardens, Grow Harbour Kids, various festivals and The Garage Sale.
A fortnight away from the third anniversary of the 2011 quake, Lucette Hindin of Project Lyttelton says the community is in good heart.
"Before and after the quakes we've put on the street party. Two major events this weekend, the Lyttelton Tea Party with incredible band Ahoribuzz and MC Tali, and the family friendly Big Pirate Picnic Beach Party, is our way of trying different things.
"I'd like to see the Tea Party grow in future years so that every music establishment in Lyttelton hosts an event and it can be progressive, in that people can wander from place to place over one night."
She's been busy completing her pirate costume ahead of the pirate-themed picnic on Saturday.
"It's so much fun. The Jack Tar sailing company will sail into Corsair Bay and fire off its canon."
You can't say "ahoy!" in Lyttelton without bumping into a creative type.
"Lyttelton is just full of top musicians, poets, visual artists and circus arts," Hindin says.
"It's a hotbed of artists."
If you're thinking of bringing your would-be pirate to Corsair Bay, she recommends taking the shuttle from Lyttelton to avoid parking problems.
Hindin says Project Lyttelton has experienced a lot of growth and now has a working staff of 16.
"The Timebank continues to expand and the challenge for us is to know how much growth we can successfully work with without taking on too much. It's a dynamic organisation and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
Four exciting events make up Lyttelton SummerFest today and tomorrow:
LYTTELTON TEA PARTY
Crave a different kind of buzz? Tonight there's a new Lyttelton- wide music event - The Lyttelton Tea Party - around the bars of Lyttelton, with headline acts Ahoribuzz and MC Tali at the grassy (the playing field on Oxford St next to Lyttelton Main School). Swing band Devilish Mary and the Holy Rollers play at Tommy Chang's and Civil and Naval present live deep house from The Kitchen Collective. Lyttelton DIY radio station Rotten Radio hosts a sound zone on London Street into the small hours. Tickets $18 plus booking fee from Cosmic Ticketing.
THE BIG PIRATE PICNIC BEACH PARTY
Tomorrow afternoon you're invited to bring the family along to The Big Pirate Picnic Beach Party at Corsair Bay from 2pm till 6pm. The Natural Magic Pirate Band will entertain and activities on offer include a treasure hunt, bouncy castle and other activities for children as well as icecream, coffee and food. Dress like a pirate and do your best to dodge the cannon fire from the pirate ship as it sails into the bay.
Talented Lyttelton poets are joined by sonic guitarist Paul Timings at Tommy Chang's from 8pm tomorrow.
Six New Zealand writers - Ben Brown, Sarah Amazinnia, Ciaran Fox, Rebecca Nash, Andy Coyle and Helen Chrystall - who happen to all live in Lyttelton, have come together under the title Lyttelton Poets to appear at festivals around the country.
Fresh from a performance at Wanaka's Outspoken Festival this week, they then travel to Wellington to perform at the Newtown Street Festival on March 2.
"Poetry has been a part of the Port's character since James Edward Fitzgerald composed The Night Watch Song of the Charlotte Jane as he sailed across the world in 1840 to pioneer a newspaper in a wooden shack on Norwich Quay simply called The Lyttelton Times; the tradition is still going strong today," Coyle says.
"Small towns and poems are both densely concentrated packages of personality, mystery, human experience and hard work."
A TASTE OF SUMMER
Also on tomorrow evening is a wine tasting with wine writer Jo Burzynska at Roots Restaurant from 5.30-7pm. She will present a selection of wine suited to the season, matched with canapes crafted by roots' culinary team. Bookings essential, ph 328 7658. tickets $50 per person.
Lyttelton SummerFest, today and Saturday, see lyttelton.net.nz for shuttle times.