10,000 expected at The Concert

AMI Stadium transformed for The Concert

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 08:15 01/11/2012
The Concert
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

HUGE TASK: Jason Pemberton, who has helped organise The Concert, watches as the massive temporary stage is erected at AMI Stadium.

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Goodbye rugby goalposts, hello to the southern hemisphere's largest temporary stage.

Just days after Christchurch's AMI Stadium hosted the ITM Cup rugby final, the Addington venue is being transformed for The Concert on Saturday.

About 10,000 are expected for the eight-hour event, for which for tickets could be gained only by committing four hours to a volunteer project.

A crowd of more than 11,000 could set a new world record for the largest exclusive volunteer concert.

Organisers hoped the pre-pledge initiative, which allowed people to attend the concert and commit to a volunteer project within the next six months, would encourage a strong walk-up crowd.

Event manager Jonnie Halstead said running the first major non-sporting event at the new stadium since it opened in March was special.

"It's very exciting for me because if this weather continues, it's going to be an amazing vibe and really is going to be impressive," he said.

The weather forecast was not good, but Halstead was confident the "gods will be on our side".

A temporary stage - the southern hemisphere's largest - was yesterday being erected in the area once occupied by the west stand.

It was rigged by Christchurch firm Hang Up with the help, of course, of volunteers.

No-one was profiting from the event, including local suppliers severely affected by the quakes, Halstead said.

"We're producing a $1 million-plus event for quarter of that price tag," he said.

Halstead, who moved his family from Christchurch to Auckland after the quakes, last year helped Student Volunteer Army founder Sam Johnson put on a thank-you concert for students who helped with the city's cleanup and backed The Concert concept.

Organising a much larger event in the post-quake climate had its challenges.

"It's no secret to anyone in Canterbury that it's a hard place to do business at the moment. Everyone's very gun-shy and large-scale events are high-risk events.

"No-one's to blame, it's just the nature of the landscape."

Safety was the top priority, Halstead said.

The stadium will feature an interactive village to "give people a break" during the eight hours of music, food stalls and an R18 area.

Alcohol would be kept to designated areas and was not a focus of the event, Halstead said.

Katchafire, Che Fu, Scribe, Hollie Smith, Annah Mac, Avalanche City, Dane Rumble, J Williams, Dukes, Goodshirt, Autozamm and Lyttelton's The Eastern are among the 24 acts.

The show, which starts at 2pm, will be filmed for a documentary and broadcast live across big screens in the arena.

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- The Press

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