The Big Muffin Serious Band are appropriately attired for their for concert in the Surrealist Garden on Saturday night.
The organisers of the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival could be accused of – or possibly applauded for – saving the best for last, as the two week series of events reaches its climax this weekend.
The festival’s headline act, Fly My Pretties, will take to the stage on the Rhododendron Lawn at 8pm on Saturday night for a two-hour set of music.
The all-star line-up for the show includes some well-known talent: Barnaby Weir, A Girl Named Mo, Anna Coddington, Bailey Wiley, LA Mitchell, Lisa Tomlins, Ria Hall, Age Pryor, Iraia Whakamoe (The Nudge), James Coyle (The Nudge), Jarney Murphy (The Black Seeds), Mike Fabulous (Lord Echo), Nigel Patterson (The Black Seeds), Ryan Prebble (The Nudge) and Troy Kingi.
However the Pretties are far from the only group playing at the gardens this weekend. Arguably the most memorable band to come out of Hamilton, The Big Muffin Serious Band will perform in the Surrealist Garden at 5pm on Saturday.
Equipped with nothing more than a load of old junk, three-part harmonies and some humble ukuleles, the Muffins have spread their brand of madcap skiffle music across the country for 37 years and have amassed numerous accomplishments, including being named New Zealand’s worst-dressed band for three years in a row.
Members of a swathe of other Hamilton bands will be seen and heard at an event titled The Waikato Rockers Reunion on the Rhododendron Lawn on Friday night, and will include musos from groups like Blackjack, Whisperscream, Knightshade, The Politicians, The Kiwi Bandits and Joe 90 taking to the stage.
At 7pm on Friday one of the country’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters, Nadia Reid, and her band will perform in Harkness Henry’s Emporium of Scintillating Wonders. Reid and her band will be showcasing tracks from her soon-to-be-released third album Out of my Province.
Remote is a fully immersive show combining electronica, pop, and sampled field recordings created by Annabel Alpers, the brains behind the Bachelorette music project (not to be confused with the reality television series). Alpers is here collaborating with Baltimore-based drummer/audio technician Adam Cooke to create a musical language that evokes New Zealand’s ragged coastline.
Remote can be heard in the Picturesque Garden on Sunday night at 7pm.
At 8pm on Saturday a dance production called Pulp is being staged in the emporium. The adults only show is described as “a spree of revelment and debauchery” created by The Dust Palace, New Zealand’s leading contemporary cirque company.
Another dance show worthy of note is This Fragile Planet, a work inspired by the delicate nature of ecosystems that will be staged on the Glasshouse Lawn at 11am and 2pm on Sunday.
Across town at the Meteor Theatre, the Kaituhi Creative theatre company are staging a production titled Kingdom of Katz, which tells the story of Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, and how he went to war with that company after being forced out of his job. The show begins at 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Written and performed by Phil Ormsby and Alex Ellis, Chick’n a Box is another show being staged in the Meteor on Friday and Sunday nights at 6pm. It is the tale of Phoebe Chicken and Piggly Chips, the mascots of the titular fast food chain who are fast becoming frustrated by the realisation they are selling a lie.
Finally, those wanting to recover following the exertions of the Pretties concert on Saturday night can do so at the Grooves in the Gardens event that begins in the festival hub at 10am on Sunday and will feature a selection of DJs spinning a multitude of discs while albums, toys and other items from times past will be on sale at dozens of stalls nearby.
Tickets and more information can be found at hgaf.co.nz.