Smith's 'Wonky Donkey' for Glastonbury

Queenstown-based musician and writer Craig Smith will perform in the Glastonbury music festival's...
Queenstown-based musician and writer Craig Smith will perform in the Glastonbury music festival's children's section in June. Photo: Guy Williams
The Wonky Donkey man is bound for Glastonbury.

Queenstown-based musician and writer Craig Smith has been invited to perform at the children's section of the world's biggest music festival in June.

It is a big break for Smith. He might have sold close to a million children's books since the award-winning The Wonky Donkey came out in 2009, but says the invitation is a ''real honour and a privilege''.

He owes the opportunity to friend and former Mosgiel man Dean O'Brien, who is achieving success as a children's entertainer and musician in the United Kingdom under the stage name ''Mr Yipadee''.

O'Brien played at Glastonbury in 2013, and the pair toured New Zealand together the same year.

''I've been trying to get there through the front door, and hadn't got anywhere,'' Smith said.

''He put in a word for me.''

The four-day festival, held annually on a Somerset farm, has already sold out its 135,000-ticket capacity. It is renowned for rain and mud, so Smith would be packing his gumboots and be ''ready for anything''.

He expected to give at least one 45-minute performance a day for the festival's duration, playing to crowds in the thousands.

He also spies an opportunity to raise his profile over there.

Since The Wonky Donkey's release, it has sold more than 600,000 copies in New Zealand and overseas, and still hovers in the top-10 best-sellers' list for New Zealand children's books.

His fifth and most recent book Square Eyes - his second collaboration with Arrowtown illustrator Scott Tulloch - came out last October and also sits in the top 10 after a couple of months at No 1.

Smith said The Wonky Donkey had been a word-of-mouth phenomenon in the UK, and he hoped some promotional work for a week either side of Glastonbury would help get his other titles into British bookstores.

''I want to get over there and get a bit of a snowball going.''

It is shaping up to be a massive year for Smith. He and partner Margaret Amor are expecting their first child, a girl, next month. To celebrate his invitation to Glastonbury, Smith will hold a free gig on Saturday in the grounds of St Peter's Church, Queenstown, starting at 11am.

After the gig (which will be held in the church hall if it rains), he will sign books and meet fans across the road at Bound bookstore and gallery.

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