The Upper Hutt City Of Song Academy Charitable Trust produced successful concerts at Harcourt Park with the final one held by the Trust in 2001,
A group of individuals who were keen to see the concerts reinstated, got together in 2013, and decided they would do the work necessary to put on a concert in 2014. Hutt City Of Song Charitable Club was formed in 2013 by a dedicated group of people who recognized a need to promote up and coming talent in the Hutt Valley and Greater Wellington Region.
A working committee was formed and the birth of “Upper Hutt City Of Song Charitable Club” was announced. With the support from the Rimutaka Licensing Trust and many business donations, including those from the ANZ Bank, Bold Motors,Wedell Plumbing, Gemac Motors, DZine Signs and the Upper Hutt Leader.
The club was formed and an action plan put in place to produce an annual family concert in Harcourt Park, Upper Hutt, to showcase both up and coming talent and existing talent. With this amazing talent emerging from Upper Hutt and Wellington area, there was a lack of events and venues to showcase them. These concerts provide the ability to showcase Wellington talent and also give Wellingtonian’s a chance to experience these performers in a family environment, combining and nurturing communities.
Upper Hutt City has for many years, back to the mid 60’s produced exceptional music talent with Frankie Stevens, Jon Stevens, The Fourmyula (featuring Wayne Mason) , The Dedication, Ebony, and more recently Shaun Preston, Anita Prime, Jade Eru, Renee Maurice, Upper Hutt Posse, Sonny Southon and the list goes on. the concert turned out to be a brilliant success. Following this success, the committee decided they would run the concert again in 2015. All arrangements were made, our sponsors and artists came to the party once again, however after a brilliant spell of what could only be described as an Indian Summer, the weather gods were not with us, and a weather bomb hit just as the concert was to get underway.
With the assistance of the Upper Hutt City Council along with the Rimutaka Licensing Trust, and other valued sponsors, we were able to produce our first concert on January 28th,
2014. Featured an awesome concert with such artists as Hitchcock Railway , The Southon Family, Shaun Preston, Short Term Memory, Renee Maurice, Gareth Barker, Anita’s Dance Academy, Tiana So’oialo, Lynn Tunnicliffe and Harmony Lane. An outstanding entry back into the rendition of the City Of Song concerts.
The 2014 concert was a total success with a great lineup of artists, both in singing and dancing. The concert was a gold coin donation event allowing even the most modest of families to attend. It is our belief that this brings communities together for an enjoyable event whilst showcasing the talented lineup of artists performing.
In this instance, Upper Hutt Community Rescue were the recipients of all funds collected on the day, and were also given the opportunity to have a presence at the event. (until then, many people did not know this service existed)
Sadly the 2015 event was hit by a weather bomb and did not proceed.
2016 Featured a huge lineup of talent with 28 acts on stage during a marathon 10 hour event. It saw the arrival to the stage of “Fish” a local band who had recently won the battle of the bands, The Reckless Bros featuring Ray Ahipene Mercer (ex Dedikation), The Fiona Haines Dance Group, Praise Be Cheer Leaders, Close Call, The Apple Jack line Dancers, Tiana So’oialo (nine year old wonder) The NZ Academy Of Music, The Anita Prime Choir, Raven Maven, Kyra Radovich, Guerilla Panic, Anita prime, Short Term Memory,Katie O’Keefe, Shennanigans, Sonny Southon, The Fergusson Drive featuring Matt Campbell and Nycki Proctor, Badger, Rochelle Brader (nee Vincent), Renee Maurice, Nightmoves (featuring Glenn Conroy and Gary McFadyen, Gareth Barker with his distinctive Michael Bubl’e style, iORock, Feature from the Pipe Down project (performed by Tarns Hood, iO Rocks and David Collinge, A dance demo from “Feet with Heat” and to finish was the Tony Mad Trio with their rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughn. A stunning event . The Upper Hutt City Of Song Academy Charitable Trust were the benefactors on this occasion.
2017 saw the emergence of some brilliant talent in the way of Merrin, The Mojo, Rey Perry, No Sleep After Midnight, Georgie Sullivan, Tarns Hood, The Fabulous Pakehas, The Noodles, O’Flynt, and get this “Ebony” yes a return of Don Wilson and Stefan Brown doing their song “Big Norm” and a special song they wrote just for Upper Hutt and if that was not enough…. bring on The Warratahs (NZ’s premium Country band)
Again sadly due to weather conditions on Saturday and predicted to continue Sunday, we had to relocate the concert indoors and were lucky enough to secure the Lane Street Church for this occasion at very short notice. We thank them dearly for their generosity. 4 A Better City were the recipients of the gold coin donations this year.
It is important to note that these artists also believe in what the club is trying to achieve, and therefore offer their services free of charge.
It is also very important that we show our gratitude to the funders and sponsors of this wonderful event. Without them, this would not happen.
The club committee are all volunteers and continue to give up their free time, fired by a passion to make this event happen.
2018 was looming to be our biggest concert yet.The talent on stage was simply the best available in the greater Wellington area and is combined with some emerging talent.
Peter Hall again travels to NZ to grace the stage. We had the local favourites in “The Southons” featuring Sonny Southon, Sam Southon, Mark Southon and Steve Southon. and another special guest formerly from Trixx Gary McFadyen (currently with O’Flynt) and Lynne Radovich (currently with Short Term Memory) . We had Renee Maurice winner of 2013 NZ’s Got Talent, The rising star Gareth Barker, The solid rock sound of Itchycoo Park (always crowd favourites with a solid following) The raunchy sound of Fiona Buchet as she teams up with iO to unleash her hard kick ass classic rock covers, Sadly due to unforeseen circumstances Feet With Heat could not appear on the day. Emerging talent in Guerilla Panic and The Silver Beatlez featuring Don Wilson, make their debut on the big stage.This all lead up to a finale with the fantastic Hitchcock Railway where Steve Brattle and the band paid tribute to the late Joe Cocker.
Concerts of this type in the past, have attracted crowds of over 8,000 to this stunning world class venue, set aside in native bush, yet only a stones throw from the city.
Sadly the weather detracted from a huge attendance this year, but thankfully the rain held off until the last 2 songs from Hitchcock Railway.
Peter Jackson saw the value of this beautiful setting, which he used for scenes in “The Lord Of The Rings” series.
City of Song intends to grow this event each year, continuing to put superb talent on stage from the experienced international stars, to the new rising stars.
This is our passion! We wish to assist these artists to grow and flourish. From the nurtured seedling, a beautiful flower grows. From that flower, a true appreciation is developed within a garden (or in this case a community)
With the continued support from the Upper Hutt City Council, The Rimutaka Licensing Trust, local businesses, and our many other sponsors, along with the support from the community, we believe that through these efforts, this event will continue to be a huge success.
Sadly, we could not get all the ducks in a row to reschedule for another concert in the 2015 summer season. We do however feel an ongoing appreciation to all the artists (especially Peter Hall and Lynda Reeve) who both flew over from Australia to be part of the entertainment. Of course along with all the artists, we had the support team, the stall vendors, and the committee members and all the sundry people who were involved in the organisation of the event. Thankfully, two events which were planned to take place, were held at the Upper Hutt Cossie Club on the Sunday evening. These included a tribute from the Southon Family to the late Celia Southon, and a reunion of the popular Hutt Valley band “Trixx” More details are available on our history page.
We would love to see you there next year . Come join our mailing list, keep informed about what’s going on and future events and help create the magic that is the “City Of Song Concert In The Park”