What do you do when you’ve got a beautiful wooden 110+ year old hall with amazing acoustics in your neighbourhood? You invite talented musicians to come play there, of course. And then you invite everyone in the community to come out and watch them and hang out together.
The Whangateau Music Series began in 2013 with 3 shows. For the first two years it was very casual and intermittent. But as word of our lovely venue spread we began receiving more requests from visiting musicians to play. And it also became apparent that there were enough musicians and enthusiasts in the area to warrant more frequent engagements.
In November 2014 we started the Whangateau Folk Club. Folk club runs on months when we don’t have a full concert guest. Club nights begin with one hour of floor singers. All musicians* are invited to put their name down to perform two numbers. In the second half, we will either have a local guest band perform for an hour or local bluegrass band The Pipi Pickers will lead a bluegrass jam for beginners and experts alike. Everyone who wants is welcome to join in. Anyone who would rather sit and chat and listen is welcome as well.
* Acoustic musicians only, please. No drum kits or keyboards. And definitely no laptops. We will have microphones and a rudimentary PA, but no amplifiers. If it can conceivably be played at a campground, it’s probably OK.
There is no committee. There is no plan.
If you know of or are an amazing musician who would like to play at the hall, read the Info for Artists Page, then contact me to book the hall and make it happen.
When we do not have visiting musicians we will have a club night, typically on the 4th Thursday of the month, though we are going to be flexible about that for the first year at least.
Nobody is getting rich off this.
All money taken at the shows goes towards hiring the hall, providing your tea and bikkies at interval, and the rest to the visiting artists so that they can continue to make great music.
If you enjoyed the show, please stick around afterwards to help clean and tidy the hall and return the chairs to their storage locations! There is no hired help coming around afterwards!
Who is Responsible for this Nonsense?
My name is Jenine, I’m a local musician living at Ti Point, been here permanently since 2005, married Nat Torkington (who you probably already know if you’ve been in the area any length of time). We have a bluegrass band, The Pipi Pickers, you might have seen us around. I’m a huge fan and supporter of folk and acoustic music. I’m also big on community projects, especially anything that gets people away from their TVs and out mingling with their neighbors, so this seemed like a pretty good idea for me.
I’m also a part of a network of independent musicians who support each other by helping organise gigs without the benefit of a recording label or PR/management company to sort things like venues, PA systems and accommodation.
What sort of music can be part of the series?
The hall being what it is, lovely and made of wood, it suits some types of music better than others. And seeing as I’m doing this so I can hear the music I like without having to drive to Auckland, I’m probably going to prefer acoustic and folk acts. This is a really broad category, and can be stretched to include almost anything. Suffice it to say we probably won’t have a lot of thrash metal, hip-hop, rap, or anything that tends to get played really loud.
Why isn’t the Sawmill good enough for my local music needs?
It usually is.
Being connected to the folk music communities in New Zealand and Australia through our band, I get inquiries from independent musicians who want to play in the area. Quite often I will refer them directly to the Sawmill. The Leigh Sawmill Café is an internationally renowned musical venue, hosts amazing bands nearly every weekend, and it’s right around the corner from Whangateau. They treat visiting performers really well and have a great publicity program. Our band has played there many times, and it’s wonderful.
When it comes to musical performance, there’s a difference between a café or club where people are eating, drinking, and chatting while a band plays, and a dedicated music hall where the audience is there specifically to listen to music. Also, music at the Sawmill on Fridays and Saturdays can’t start until after the dinner service, which ends at 9:30pm.
In addition to making great use of our local hall, and providing an opportunity for the local community to gather together, The Whangateau Hall Folk Music and Social Club provides an outlet for music that is best enjoyed in a quieter setting, and with an earlier show time.
Is alcohol allowed in the hall?
Yes, feel free to bring your own beverages.