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Summer Hummer returns

Muttonbirds performing at Summer Hummer in 1998. PHOTOS/WAIRARAPA ARCHIVE

One of Wairarapa’s most iconic festivals, Summer Hummer, is making a comeback to Masterton, reports GRACE PRIOR.

The festival, planned for Saturday, December 3, is set to be headlined by Auckland rapper Kings, who has over 22 million streams on his hit-song 6 Figures.

Kings emerged on the music scene in 2016, with his single Don’t Worry ‘Bout It.

The track went on to become the biggest release of the year, selling triple platinum and breaking the record for the longest-running number-one song on the New Zealand Singles Chart by spending 33 weeks at the top.

The record was previously held by Lorde.

Festival sponsor Trust House said Kings would be joined by Wellington act Tin Palace Deluxe Edition, and a trio of Wairarapa bands – Sinner Man Saint, Captivated and Dragonfly, and local beatboxer, Maceo Field.

Che-Fu performing at Summer Hummer 2003.

Summer Hummer was first launched in 1997 by former Masterton mayor Bob Francis. The concert drew in crowds of 10,000 and was an event for all members of the community and attracted bands including Australian band Hunters and Collectors, The Feelers, and Che-Fu. The Wairarapa Times-Age reported in February 1999 that Dave Dobbin had headlined the festival.

“People got to their feet and danced and bodysurfed throughout his more energetic songs, with a mellow feeling taking over during the softer ones.”

Masterton councillor and organiser of this year’s Summer Hummer revival Stella Lennox, said she had a lot of great memories from the festival.

“I was a teenager, and I remember coming back from Wellington for them. A few years ago we had Lady Hawke [Pip Brown] headline and she talked about the influence summer hummer had on her as a young girl.”

She said she and Francis wanted to have an opening for the skatepark with a few bands, but ended up deciding to bring back Summer Hummer.

The Wairarapa Times-Age reported six arrests ranging from breach of the peace to assault and trespass at the 1999 concert.

In the 13 years since Francis launched the festival in 1997, the event attracted some of the best bands in New Zealand including The Feelers, Zed, Fur Patrol, Goodshirt, Dave Dobbyn, Scribe, and Mutton Birds.

By the early 2010s however, enthusiasm for organising Summer Hummer had faded and it went into hiatus.

Francis said there was no understating of the negative impact of covid-19 over the past few years and the cancellation of many special events within the region.

“That is why we have been so keen to re-launch Summer Hummer and give families and young people a chance to come together for an event that we know from past experiences gets the community really excited.”

Ticket prices were not confirmed at the time of publication.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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