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Benefit concert for The Boathouse

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Boathouse rebuild is about to get a boost with a benefit concert from award-winning Kiwi singer-songwriter Mel Parsons.

Boathouse manager Amie-Jo Trayes says the idea for the concert came right back in February from Mel Parsons herself.

"On the day of the Cyclone Fehi storm Mel heard about the damage and emailed us, sending her love and thoughts and offering a fundraising concert," Trayes said. "It was a very heartening message for us back then as we were reeling from the wave damage."

Mel Parsons says The Boathouse is one of her favourite venues in the country with "hands down the best view from a stage anywhere".

"Venues with history and atmosphere like The Boathouse are few and far between, and are such a valuable asset to the community, so I'm very happy to be contributing in some small way to getting her back up and running," she said. "I'll be bringing two of my wonderful bandmates and a swag of new songs from my forthcoming new album, along with a few oldies for good measure."

Parsons, whose style is somewhere between indie/folk and alt/country, has built up a name for her dry banter on stage as well as for her songs, which range from hand-clappers like ‘Far Away’, through to pin-drop ballads like ‘Don’t Wait’.

Her third album ‘Drylands’ was released to critical acclaim in 2015, spending 51 weeks in the charts, peaking at number two. Parsons will have just touched down from a two month tour of North America when she comes to Nelson, having performed right across the USA, and through Eastern Canada.

She has performed all around the world, at festivals, in woolsheds and everything in between. A past cast member of Fly My Pretties, Parsons has twice been a finalist in the NZ Music Awards, won the 2016 VNZCMA Song of the Year and was a finalist for the APRA Silver Scroll in 2015. Mel Parsons will be supported by band-mates Jed Parsons and Josh Logan.

Appropriately the Boathouse Choir (located at Founders during the rebuild) will be supporting its namesake with a short set of World Music songs to get the concert started. Then Pete Rainey’s popular gypsy jazz band Django Schmango will deliver a few of the catchy standards that have made them such a draw in Nelson. There will also be raffles and spot prizes.

Trayes said the rebuild was going well - the hard beech recovered from the aftermath of Cyclone Gita in 2014 has all arrived in Nelson from Karamea and is being prepared for laying. She said while The Boathouse had excellent insurance, the fundraising campaign helped cover the extras.

"There is a fair bit of remedial work that has been uncovered during the storm repair and we are also taking advantage of the opportunity to upgrade facilities, this all takes time and we have a great team on board working on the build and behind the scenes."

Mel Parsons for the Boathouse benefit concert is at the Theatre Royal on 9 August 2018, start time 7pm, doors open 6.30pm. Tickets $45 from the Theatre Royal or from Ticketdirect.

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