Inaugural festival rocks crowd

An estimated crowd of 6000 rocked to the sounds of an entertaining line-up at the Queenstown...
An estimated crowd of 6000 rocked to the sounds of an entertaining line-up at the Queenstown Events Centre on Saturday, including Elvis Costello. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Organisers of Saturday's inaugural Queenstown Blues and Roots Festival have promised to be back ''bigger and better'' next year, after a ''huge day'' in the resort.

An estimated 6000 people from all over New Zealand flocked to the Queenstown Events Centre on Saturday to make the most of a stellar line-up, culminating in headline acts the Doobie Brothers and Black Seeds

Festival directors Grant Hilton and Queenstown hospitality professional Barry Ellis were ''thrilled'' with the feedback received.

''We worked very hard as a team with some wonderful support from this community and we're very pleased with what we delivered as a `first-up' show,'' Mr Hilton said.

''I think we surprised a few people.

''All the artists were stoked with the venue, the crowd and with Queenstown and we've had some great feedback with phone calls and text messages all day from people who came or who were involved.

''If people thought this year was good, we'll knock their socks off next year,'' Mr Hilton said.

''We're already having so many amazing acts being offered to us.''

Queenstown group The Killer Seas, which won a busking competition to take the stage at the event, got the day rolling with music that set the tone for the day.

Dunedin's King Leo got the first members of the audience up dancing with a range of blues classics before high-energy all-girl group the Johnnys, a Johnny Cash covers band, drew more music lovers up front in the sunshine.

Fly My Pretties showcased its talent and musical diversity before Elvis Costello and the Imposters took the stage.

Clearly a hit with a crowd that knew the lyrics to classics including Watching the Detectives and Alison, Costello later handed over to the Doobie Brothers, who produced a slick set of lights, music and action - even drawing Costello back on stage to join them for one number and finishing with crowd-pleaser Listen to the Music.

The eight-strong Black Seeds finished off the show and had everyone on their feet by the end.

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