Top band caps vibrant festival


South Canterbury's first international festival is to make its debut next month, with acclaimed Kiwi rhythm and blues band Ardijah as the headline act.

Festival spokesman Aaron Williams said organisers were thrilled to have secured the band, famous for hits such as Moonlighting, Watching U and Silly Love Songs.

"Ardijah's sound is a fantastic fit with the theme of the South Canterbury International Festival, which is a vibrant celebration of Pacific and other cultures' music, dance, food, games, sports and arts.

"It's a real coup for South Canterbury to have secured an act of this quality, and is just another reason for everyone to get along to the festival."

Organising committee chairwoman Robyn Carey said the idea of an international festival came up last year when organisers thought Timaru needed a multicultural event, along the lines of Auckland's Pasifika festival.Mountainview Pavilion Trust, Pod Fusion, Aoraki Polytechnic and the Aoraki Multicultural Council had spent the last 18 months planning the event, Dr Carey said.

Highlights included cultural games and sports, a variety of exhibitors covering everything from reflexology to jewellery to Japanese bonsai, New Zealand's Victorian heritage, and an arts area.

Mr Williams said local musical talent would also feature at the festival, with performances from the Canterbury Japanese Choir, Boru the Irish band, and Te Aitarakihi kapa haka, along with local dance artists such as Bollywood Hungama. Rounding out the musical entertainment will be Jubilation, an Auckland gospel choir, with roots in traditional African-American gospel and influenced by contemporary songwriters such as Van Morrison.

Mr Williams said the festival would have something for the whole family.

"If music isn't your thing, come along to sample authentic ethnic food made in our cultural houses.."

The festival will be held on September 26 at Mountainview High School.