Seeking answers to another city snub

The Seekers, (L-R) Bruce Woodley, Judith Durham, Keith Potger and Athol Guy, attend a photocall...
The Seekers, (L-R) Bruce Woodley, Judith Durham, Keith Potger and Athol Guy, attend a photocall in London ahead of a concert as part their 50th anniversary tour. Photo Getty Images

If the ho-hum reaction from my colleagues yesterday is a reliable guide, then it's possible I'm the only person in the province who's outraged by the news the Seekers are not, repeat not, coming to Dunedin when they tour New Zealand later this year.

OK, so maybe ‘‘outraged'' is just a little hyperbolic, but sad, frustrated and confused would certainly describe my mood as I write this, having digested the nigh-unpalatable truth that of the five venues chosen by the evergreen Australians, Dunedin did not make the cut.

Instead, next November, they will play in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton and New Plymouth.

I'm not so much sad for myself -I've seen them at least twice on previous tours - but more for the southern fans (and I'm including our friends across the border in Southland) who have been overlooked by yet another highly popular group.

When I checked with DVML yesterday, they told me they got the news at the same time as I did - ‘‘which does happen now and again if a promoter has already made the decision on where the tour will go''.

The truly depressing fact is this not a new issue for Dunedin. We've already been bypassed this year by several headline acts, including Katy Perry and Jethro Tull, to name but two from a lengthy list. And I can't, for the life of me, see how it's going to get any better.

So, let's speculate on why it's come to this. Here's a few possibilities as I see them. -

Geography: we are too far away for ease of travel by artists.

Population: we don't have the numbers to guarantee full houses.

Weather: our (unwarranted) reputation for being cold and miserable puts them off.

Status: Dunedin is no longer seen as a ‘‘main centre''.

Or, A.N. Other (readers' suggestions welcomed!)

What I think we can safely exclude from the list is venue suitability. An expensively renovated Dunedin Town Hall has proved more than adequate for shows by the Seekers previously and the same goes for the Regent Theatre, while the stadium has handled what might becalled ‘‘super acts'' previously.

As for the Seekers, well, they might all be in their 70s (Judith Durham, 71, Bruce Woodley, 72, Keith Potger, 73 and Athol Guy, 74), but who really cares? Not, apparently, the crowds who attended the 15 sellout shows in the UK earlier this year, during their golden jubilee tour.

By my count they've played shows in Dunedin in 1968, 1976, 1998 and 2000 (I may have missed some dates) and I have great memories of the last two, especially in 1998, when they played for two hours for 2500 fans.

Looking through my scrapbooks, however, I note that in 2000 I wrote they had made their last appearance in Dunedin, not that I really believed it, given the group's penchant for reunion tours.

This time, however, it appears the carnival may truly be over.

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