Last week I covered Big Day Out starting off mentioning that I’d been to seven of the Auckland events in seven years, which seemed to go down quite well with readers. So for Parachute this year, I’m going to do the same, but different because Parachute will always be a little different to the rest of the festivals here in New Zealand.
This is my third time covering the event in as many years and so I’m going to play on that number for this piece, focusing on the music, the seminars and the comparison to past Parachutesand other music festivals I’ve been to.
With all the cyclones and things that we’ve seen over the summer time, it’s been a strange start to the festival season so far, so that in itself has made for quite a different experience to previous Parachutes.
Instead of the usual sweating off sunscreen after two minutes of arriving, the Saturday was spent bracing from the wind and tying up hair so that it wouldn’t whip your face till red. This meant loads of scrunchies that I found to be pretty entertaining, and I even saw a knitted one? How does that even work?!
One thing I noticed that stayed the same though, was one of my favorite sights – the L&P style stubbies, and for those of who were old enough – the mustaches that go so well with them. Brilliant.
Each time I cover this event, I get asked what it’s like through judgmental eyes, and people are always surprised to hear that this is one of my favorites for the atmosphere. Parachute-goers are generally a well-behaved bunch, although I have been known to get smacked over the head whilst trying to take photos in the photographers pit on numerous occasions.
This mostly ‘good behavior’ is all thanks to the values thatParachute organisers put out for all attendees to go by which have a very strong focus on respecting your neighbors and treating people how you would like to be treated. It’s not that hard, really. So how did my windy day spent at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek go? Read on, my friends. Read on...
One of my first stops for the Saturday, which turned out to be my favorite and most memorable was a seminar focusing on perseverance – very fitting for someone who has been photographing bands for the past five years, who doesn’t plan on stopping even when they get to the point of ‘living the dream’, I thought.
The seminar was lovingly brought to the massive crowd packed into the Deluxe theatre by none other than Brian ‘Head’Welch – former member of controversial rock band, Korn. Focusing on his earlier and present life, Welch had the audience glued to the stage for his half hour talk which was not only motivational, but a real eye-opener for someone who had no idea of what this man got up to with his life, other than the obvious, and more commonly known decade spent touring withKorn.
Since discovering Jesus in 2005, Welch has released an incredible two autobiographical books, which he spoke of fondly with great detail. With the title of his presentation – Perseverance,Welch informed all that these books along with his albums never came easy to him, and have required an enormous amount of the Pword over the past six years.
Things haven’t always gone his way – actually, it sounds like he has struggled on numerous occasions but he is using his belief to guide him through which is what he feels has got him to where he is now, and of course back to New Zealand ‘with clearer eyes’ than the last time he was in the country.
I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan of this man and my mind had been made up that I absolutely could not miss him and his band later on in the evening. But for now it was time for an on-stage interview with hotties, Skilletbefore catching some of the other music happening around the show grounds.
If I weren’t photographing the other acts on the main stage,The Apollo would have been my venue of choice during the day with acts like Geneva,Kadet and JeremyFowler, but I did get to check out a couple of the locals in between like TheFrisk and popular Dunedin based lads, Black Boy Peaches.
Both bands had a bunch of friends and fans turn out for their sets and were super excited to be on stage rocking it out to the crowd. A particularly happy moment for me was watching the BBP boys smiling their way through tunes and having everyone in the front row sing along while they went for it. It was also pretty special watching the girlies swoon over the lads, so for those girls, I have some handsome photos waiting just for your peepers...
From there it was off to catch Kingston who I have seen at the other two years’ events, so while their performance was good, I don’t feel like there was anything too new that I hadn’t seen before. Still, the crowd loved it, and that’s all that really matters.
Old-timers, TheLads who are now based in the states, stirred the crowd into a frenzy with their comical performance, and it was an amazing site to see so many hands in the air toward the end of their set. Next came the one I had been waiting for all day – Brian ‘Head’Welch’s band who wowed me like I knew they would. I can’t say that I knew any of their ‘new’ stuff, but I did recognize some Korn, which was both delightful and confusing at the same time.
Either way, it was something truly incredible, and the crowd agreed, screaming and yelling at the men in make-up staring back at them. The end of my evening came with an energetic set with Idol winner, Stan Walker who I must admit made me chuckle a bit with the amount of cheese that came from the dancers and back up singers on stage.
So I guess that’s the way that I will remember Parachute 2011 – full of smiles and cuteness, along with some motivating messages that will stick in my mind for quite some time. Keen to go and read one of these books that Brian ‘Head’ Welch has ‘written’ now...
Words by Amanda Ratcliffe