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Musician Mike McKeon, who performs under the moniker Dr Blue, drew one of the largest crowds on Saturday as people packed into Tees St Cafe, and lined the streets, to hear the international singer at the Harbour Street Jazz and Blues Festival.
Originally from London, McKeon flew to New Zealand at the end of 2019 to see his wife, Sameena Zehra, who is a performer and activist based in Wellington.
His flight home last year was cancelled due to Covid-19, and he was now on a working visa and performing throughout the country, McKeon said.
And while the audience was in awe of his soulful voice, McKeon has fallen in love with the town and its people.
"I’ve been doing this a long time and every so often you stumble upon somewhere new — it’s one of the joys of touring. Oamaru, I think, is charming. I love it. There’s something about it — there’s a really nice feel to the place," Mr McKeon said.
"There’s something very kind about the Kiwi. It’s very endearing."
He performed several stand-in gigs on Saturday morning and another show yesterday and said the festival and its organisers were "fabulous".
"This is my wheelhouse. I like meeting people, having a chat. This is my idea of heaven."
Metal musician-turned-jazz singer Fallout Girl (Suzie Paulin) performed on the Oamaru Steam and Rail train throughout the day.
"It’s been really fun. There’s been a great response and a lot of clapping," she said.
Oamaru residents Noel and Franceen Bradshaw attend the festival each year. They loved the different variety of musicians each year, Mr Bradshaw said.
"It’s the atmosphere of it all and the artists are all good quality."
Festival co-ordinator Anna Randall said it had been a fantastic weekend and involved a team effort from the bands, venues and organisers.
"It’s been really great — we’re thrilled."
The three-day festival finished yesterday with the Harbour Street Party.