September 17 2018 by Sam Chapman – Sherwood Co-owner
At Sherwood, we cherish music for the power it has to bring people together and build community. We believe that a vibrant arts and cultural scene has a pivotal role to play in continuing to make Queenstown a great place to live and visit.
We’ve been bringing touring New Zealand and International musicians to Queenstown since we opened in 2014 including local and international icons such as The Chills, Don McGlashan, Dave Dobbyn, Kurt Vile, Midge Ure, The Phoenix Foundation, Nadia Reid, Anika Moa, Shayne Carter and most recently Julia Deans.
We have some big ones coming up including Silver Scroll nominees; The Beths next Saturday night, return visits from Don McGlashan and The Warratahs in October, and Brett Mckenzie’s Congress of Animals in November.
Sadly, we’ve had an increasing number of comments from both patrons and touring artists, voicing their frustration at crowds talking through an artistic performance. This has got to the point where we have both bands and concert goers not wanting to return for gigs.
As a result of poor behaviour during Julia Dean’s show in August, which saw Julia finishing the show with “I hope you enjoyed your $40 conversation”, we felt that in future, we had no option but to remove audience members from the show if they were seen to be compromising the experience for others.
We acknowledge we have an important role to play in improving the culture around live music - especially in creating a respectful environment for people to perform or enjoy a show, and we’re working hard to improve this through production, audience, management and signage.
Due to the small size of our local population and the equally limited size of our venue, playing a show in Queenstown is only marginally viable at best for most touring bands. We try and make it worthwhile by covering accommodation, feeding artists well and creating an enjoyable moment on a national tour.
Going to a gig needs to be fun – hell, it’s rock n’ roll after all! There’s plenty of great bars in Queenstown where people can have a drink and a natter, and at Sherwood, we’ve got great outdoor areas for those who don’t want to watch the show. All we ask is that if you’re at a show, you stop and listen.
In the immortal words of Aretha Franklin this is simply a matter of ‘respect’ – and old fashioned manners. If people want to have a strong music, arts and cultural scene in Queenstown then they’ve got to support it by showing artists and their fellow audience members the respect they deserve.
If between us we can achieve that - then artists will continue to want to tour here and we can continue to invest in building a community through arts and music.
Sam Chapman – Sherwood Co-owner