It's always nice to get good news, and a new festival announcement is always good news.
Actually, it's not a new festival. It's the latest edition of a current festival, but every time I get an email from the main organiser, Jess Covell, I feel a little chirpier because I know cool and eclectic music is on the way.
I'm talking here about Katikati and, specifically, Live Music at the Lettuce Inn #5, which is – as you might have already guessed – the fifth version of this wonderful little festival.
Katikati is a lovely little town to visit. Murals, friendly people, the country's finest wine shop and a constant schedule of concerts makes for some very fun times.
The town has just staged its annual Avocado Festival, and this year it was even bigger and better with an imaginative array of food stalls and a great musical line-up. The 2018 series of Twilight Concerts is also coming to a close on February 10, with what promises to be a splendid finale at the Haiku Reserve.
Kicking off at 6pm (gates open at 5pm), the final show features Miho's Jazz Orchestra - not actually an orchestra but a five-piece jazz band fronted by Japanese flautist Miho Wada. They've been in town before, at the Jazz Festival and the Entertainers Club, and are well worth watching. Then it's the return of the fabulous, most groovy Brilleaux.
Tauranga's favourite R&B purveyors have been tripping around the North Island for most of January, playing support for the Rock Steady Crew - the group of English players culled from the likes of Bad Company, Foreigner and other big name bands. They should be good and warmed up by now for their Katikati show!
But back to the Lettuce Inn.
Not only did Jess and the good organising folk at Mokonui send through the line-up, they've also offered a pair of complementary tickets for us to give away. That's right, there's a double pass up for grabs – just look elsewhere on this page.
Okay, some details. The festival is on Saturday, March 3, and I'll be writing more closer to the time.
Here are the basics: it takes place on Liberty Growers’ hydroponic lettuce and herb farm which Jess co-manages. It's just before Katikati, on the Tauranga side, at 33 Sedgemoor Lane.
This is the fifth instalment and Jess says: “Our vision is to have several concerts each year, which showcase a diverse range of local and national bands and performers.
“We don't want to compete with any of the other established musical events happening in Katikati, but rather expand on the variety and build on the already burgeoning musical community.”
The event is BYO, but they will also have food vendors Tea and Happiness, and hot beverages from Waihi's Little Miss Jay.
This latest iteration will feature nine musical acts as well as bringing back contemporary dancers Kate Sullivan and Suzy Smith-Roy. Local artist Kabuki Doll and Rotorua-based artist Maggie Covell will also have their works on display.
So, here's what's on offer musically: French Doors (five-piece from Otumoetai College), Karen Lawson (alt-country-folk), Koizilla (Dunedin surf-rock), The Ne Van Boys (10-piece string band from Vanuatu), Paul Cathro (Singer-songwriter), Sere (Brian Eno meets Black Sabbath), Soaked Oats (guitar-driven pop-rock), Sophie Gibson (singer-songwriter) and Star Control (probably electro-pop).
The idea is to hold a family-friendly event, and past ones I've been to have certainly been that, with people relaxing on the grass or dancing when it's not too hot. Gates open at 3pm and the idea is to take your own chairs, snacks, beverages, umbrellas and whatever else you need.
Family passes are $40 and adult pre-sale tickets are $20. Get these by emailing the event organisers at: firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be limited door sales at $25.
And of course, I'm doing everything in the wrong order. There's a festival a week earlier between Tauranga and Katikati. The Festival Under the Figs in Aongatete is on February 23 and 24. Expect copious folk music. I'll dig out more info on that in the near future.
The Weekend Sun has one double pass to any screening during the festival for one lucky reader