Summer concert set to delight
The Summer Concert Tour will head to Gibbston Valley this weekend, bringing with it sweet sounds from Simple Minds, Texas, Collective Soul and Pseudo Echo. The Queenstown leg is the last in a trio of shows, with the other two taking place in Taupō and Hamilton this past weekend. It’s the 14th year of operation for Dean Calvert and his wife, Amanda, who started this back in 2011.
It was initially a smaller affair with just a couple of bands. Year one featured Dr Hook and Creedence Clearwater Revisited and year two was the Doobie Brothers and Little River Band. The third year featured Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo plus two additional bands – from here it continued to grow in both the number of artists and the crowds of people.
“The crowds have grown from 10,000 – 11,000 up to our biggest crowd of 18,000 – they’ve come along for that journey as well,” Dean Calvert says. “People are coming into Queenstown and spending three or four nights here and are making this an annual pilgrimage. They get together with friends and meet up at the Gibbston Valley for the Summer Concert – so it’s an annual event that people look forward to.
“The big change is that we started off with a smaller stage, small sound system and everything, and it’s now a full-on production with a 20-metre stage, screens either side, and a massive international PA and speakers. It’s really grown into a big festival-type of event.”
Despite the event only going for a few days each year, it’s getting worked on 12 months or more in advance. Each year, Dean goes on a trip to meet with agents and has a list of artists they’d like to bring to New Zealand in hand. As they’re competing with event organisers from the rest of the world for the appearance, they’re usually working two or three years in advance – he says they put in the bid for Simple Minds five years ago, which is just coming to fruition now. One thing that works to their advantage is that it’s winter throughout Europe and America, so it’s prime time for artists to be heading down under.
“It’s a very big event and a lot of people are in town. From feedback, we hear that the shops are very happy, it’s not just bars and restaurants – just in general any shop or retailer in Queenstown is happy over our weekend. We’re not in the middle of town, so it doesn’t cause any issues for town – we do have to manage and work closely with NZTA and we do have to manage our traffic on that highway, but in general, I think the community gets involved and they enjoy it.
“We use a lot of community groups and we pay them a fee to become involved in some way with the event. We’ve got the Whakatipu Rowing Club, a few of the schools, the Rugby Club and the Lions, so it’s a great way for them to fundraise. We definitely get the community involved. We try and also let the artists have a look around – they’re putting stuff on their own Facebook, which may have millions of followers and it’s good advertisement for the region. I think all in all, we have good support from the community and that’s certainly the feedback that we get.”
This year’s concert is set to be a great one with Simple Minds headlining the show, one of the UK’s most successful bands. Scottish rock band Texas will also take the stage, performing hits like I Don’t Want a Lover and Say What You Want. There’s also American rock band Collective Soul and Pseudo Echo who’ll play the classic Funky Town. Dean notes that the festival is possible because of all the people behind the scenes, including a select few that have been involved since the start.
“My wife Amanda leads a fantastic team and all the staff we’ve had over the years, we’re all together still. Our production company, Hang Up, do an amazing job, our team and particularly the CEO, she leads a great team. We care about our customers and continually try and improve the experience that they receive. We’re looking forward to putting on another great show, which will be in our 14th year. It’s been a bit of a journey,” he says.
The Summer Concert Tour will take place at
Gibbston Valley Winery on Saturday, 3 February.
For more information or for tickets,
you can head to greenstoneentertainment.co.nz