Rocking for right reasons

21:25, Oct 24 2010
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Band Together in Christchurch's Hagley Park as a post Earth Quake Party. A member of Te Kotahitanga Kapa Haka group opening the show today.
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Aranui band A'PPREESHIATE perform at Band Together in Hagley Park
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Crowd scene from Band Together in Hagley Park
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Christchurch's Hagley Park as a post Earth Quake Party.Crowd enjoying Dane Rumble
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Che Fu perform at Band Together.
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Images from today's Band Together concert in Hagley Park
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Images from today's Band Together concert in Hagley Park
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Images from today's Band Together concert in Hagley Park
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Images from today's Band Together concert in Hagley Park
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and iconic Kiwi band The Bats performs at the Band Together concert for Canterbury. By Daniel Tobin
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A crowd shot from the air above Hagley Park at Band Together.
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Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker performs onstage with The Bats at Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Jason Kerrison of OpShop performs at Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from today's Band Together concert in Hagley Park.
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A huge crowd enjoys Opshop at Band Together.
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Picnics were the order of the day at Band Together.
Minuit singer Ruth Carr
SHAKEN: Minuit singer Ruth Carr says an altercation with a group of skinheads left her badly shaken ahead of Saturday's Band Together.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Jordan Luck entertains the crowd with Ray Columbus
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. A Band Together sign hands from a kite.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Lyttelton's The Eastern performing
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Singer Dinah Lee.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Children play with a kite.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Bic Runga performs.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Jason Kerrison from Opshop, Jordan Luck, and Ray Columbus on stage.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park.
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Prime Minister John Key with Mayor Bob Parker
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Images from Band Together in Hagley Park. Mayor Bob Parker performs with The Bats.

Canterbury rocked to a brighter beat as about 140,000 people jammed into Christchurch's Hagley Park on Saturday for one of New Zealand's biggest free concerts.

The city hosted earthquake-relief party Band Together for Canterbury, with stressed residents taking a break from the ongoing tremors to dance and sing to the sounds of leading Kiwi musicians, including The Exponents, Dave Dobbyn, Anika Moa and The Feelers.

Promoter Paul Ellis, who helped organise the event with Opshop frontman Jason Kerrison, said the turnout had left him "stunned, shocked, humbled and happy".

When he had first talked about throwing a concert with Kerrison, the suggestion had been an indoor event with five bands and about 5000 people.

However, plans ballooned rapidly, and Ellis was thrilled the extent of problems at the alcohol-free gig had been limited to a few lost children.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker admitted he was a bundle of nerves before his performance on guitar with iconic Kiwi band The Bats.

"That was more nerve-racking than anything else I've done in a long time ... it was like putting myself in harm's way personally. At least with the earthquake you had no choice."

While only a fraction of those at Band Together had been forced to move out of their homes because of the September 4 earthquake, it was clear New Zealand's small population meant everybody had family or friends who were struggling.

Those with children spoke of youngsters who were too frightened to go to sleep at night.

For many, Band Together was a chance to relax, dispel some stress and reclaim some normality among the constant aftershocks. Fortunately, there were none on Saturday afternoon.

Aranui mother Amy Murcott said her house had not been seriously damaged but many of her friends had not been so lucky.

A neighbour's circuit board had exploded during the quake, leaving him without power for days. Another friend had his house burgled after they were forced to move out because of damage.

Murcott's two children, Lilly, 4, and Bobby, 15 months, had been unsettled after the quake, but were slowly recovering.

Going back to preschool, where regular earthquake drills were held under the guise of a game, had helped Lilly.

"They shout out 'turtle' and everyone dives under the desks," Murcott said.

For a Redwood family, the Turners, Band Together was an opportunity to forget about the limbo they are in with their property.

"We had to come  it's been so difficult  we had to be part of it."

While their house was not a write-off, they are still waiting for a visit from Earthquake Commission inspectors, while liquefaction continues to bubble up through the ground with every aftershock.

Justine Turner said last Tuesday's magnitude 5.0 aftershock was more stressful than the initial earthquake, as her six-year-old son, Liam, was at school and the phones were not working.

However, Liam and his friend, Jack Prebble, were loving the concert, enjoying the music and dancing in the sun.

Jack said the earthquake had not bothered him, and he had even given advice to his family during the big shake.

"I ran out the door and jumped on my Dad and said, 'Get under the door'."

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ALL TOGETHER NOW: Jordan Luck, left, and Ray Columbus, at the Band Together for Canterbury concert in Hagley Park on Saturday.
ALL TOGETHER NOW: Jordan Luck, left, and Ray Columbus, at the Band Together for Canterbury concert in Hagley Park on Saturday.

The Press