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Blown away by band’s tramping gig

The start of New Zealand Music Month was marked by Wellington-based New Orleans-style brass band Crash Bandihoot at a highly unorthodox venue.

All the band’s instruments – including a 15-kilo sousaphone – were carted up to Powell Hutt in Tararua Forest Park last weekend to Powell Hut for a gig raising money for DoC’s Kakapo Recovery Fund.

Crash Bandihoot saxophonist Pi said the idea came to him and another band member on a previous tramp.

“We were going up to Jumbo, and we had stopped at Powell. It was a brand new hut with a lovely balcony,” he recalled.

“I said, ‘We should do a gig here,’ because we knew we wanted to do a fundraiser. I joked we could walk our band members and their instruments up here.”

What began as a joke became a reality “frighteningly fast”.

Pi said that, in addition to the performance, tickets also covered a bed in Powell Hut for the night and a donation to thee fundraiser.

“We made sure to book the whole hut – because what if people who wanted some peace and quiet booked a bed, and then an entire brass band arrives,” Pi laughed.

A band carrying a selection of brass instruments isn’t something seen every day in the Tararuas, and Pi said other trampers were understandably quite amazed at the sight.

“I think it was the last thing people expected to see on the trail, especially the big sousaphone.”

Although the energy of the band and audience was somewhat depleted after carrying tramping gear and music equipment over 1000m up a mountain, Pi said good vibes were restored as soon as the sounds started.

“We were all quite tired and had just had dinner when everyone just jumped into action and started moving tables,” he said.

“The people who came up with us carried us energetically – they were just buzzing for the gig, which was really great.”

Jenny Morton was on her first ever tramp with a friend and said they couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw a brass band carting all their instruments up the hill.

“We were sitting at Rocky Lookout, having a rest, when low and behold, this bloomin’ brass band walks around the corner carrying all their gear!” she said.

“We were absolutely blown away by what they’ve done – those instruments are heavy. I was complaining about my bag being heavy, let alone those 25-kilo brass instruments.”

Morton said it was an amazing experience to have on her first tramp, and she was extremely impressed by their dedication.

“It was just amazing. I just take my hat off to them.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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