The forest fire concert on Saturday was a fantastic success, organisers say. People from all over the region had the chance to come and say thanks to the first responders and volunteers who helped fight the Pigeon Valley fire in February.


Nearly 3000 people turned up to the concert, held at the A&P showgrounds on Lower Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, and organiser Steve Page said that the event was ‘thoroughly successful, so many strangers came up to say thanks and the support, as usual, was amazing.”


The concert was headlined by The Warratahs, supported by local bands including Nelson Jazz club big band, Bo Kay, Dust & Gold, and Nine95. ‘The Warratahs were just fantastic, and some good local artists got some good exposure as well.” Steve said, “Smiley and the sound team also did an incredible job.”


Nearly $14,000 was raised all together, and the concert was free for first responders and those who volunteered during the fires. Steve said that people were particularly impressed with the firefighters from Appleby who turned up and embraced the afternoon, “big ups to the Appleby fire brigade, it was great to see them turn up in the spirit that the concert was intended, its obvious that they have a great culture.”


Steve wanted to thank the sponsors that made the concert possible, with the primary sponsors NBS and the local papers Waimea Weekly, Nelson Weekly, Marlborough Weekly, and The Guardian Motueka. “Also, a big thanks to community groups like Rotary and Richmond Unlimited, who helped out on the day.”


“No doubt about it, the concert achieved what it set out to do. The silent auction was also a big success” Tasman Trailers donated a 7×4 caged trailer, Discover New Zealand provided a week’s campervan use and the Richmond Mall provided mall vouchers to go towards the silent auction.


The Warratahs stayed with Steve and his wife Jenny for the weekend, and Steve said they ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ having them. “Barry [of The Warratahs] was just so taken with Wakefield and Pigeon Valley, he thought it was one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I almost think he might come back down here and live”


The Warratahs said that the attitude and energy from people who turned up to enjoy the event was ‘absolutely amazing.’ “It was, in fact, something quite special, that was genuinely noticeable,” said Barry.


Asked what the highlight was, Steve said it was on a couple of fronts. “The genuine input by a lot of the companies involved was actually very humbling and I loved seeing the folk up in front of the stage dancing and smiling. When I saw that I thought that my team and I had won. We achieved what we all set out to do”

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