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currently: sick day at home and I can't sleep. So blogging is perfect.

Last week was a massively busy week for me. Monday I met with my friends to watch the season four opening of My Kitchen Rules, Wednesday was netball, Thursday was watching Django Unchained, Friday was Lantern Festival, and Saturday was my first ever More FM Summer Vineyard event at Turanga Creek in Auckland. Never have I been to a vineyard, never have I been to a festival, and never had I seen these acts perform live on stage. It was a collection of first for me, and my boyfriend who had never been to a concert in New Zealand.

The ever so lovely and beach ready Jamie McDell
Boyfriend and I got to Turanga Creek just close to 5pm, after a couple of wrong turns and a 5 minute trek through the dusty vineyard. Jamie McDell had already launched into her set, and the area definitely looked packed with picnic chairs, beach tents and plenty of wine going around. It couldn't have been a nicer day for good times and good music.


Jamie played all her good hits from her debut album 'Six Strings and a Sailboat' - which honestly sums up the simplicity and sweetness of this young Kiwi songstress. She even finished her set with the perfect song, 'Life in the Sunshine'. The weather was just perfect, and everyone around me where I sat I saw singing along.

Che Fu followed after, and I'll admit, Che Fu has been pretty quiet on the scene. But then that doesn't mean that Che Fu isn't forgotten. Misty Frequencies is still a classic, and there were some women (possibly wine-d up) that were very into grooving to Che Fu.)

Che Fu gets the crowd going
Aaradhna and her band
After his half hour set, the gorgeous Aaradhna came on stage with her acoustic band and put the mood into a breezy and soulful swing. I love singing to her music, it's so fun and playful. Definitely recommend giving her album 'Treble & Reverb' a listen to, because there's a reason why they've signed her for a big deal in the States.
Btw - her music was also great music to eat $7 nachos and $2.50 ice cream cones to.

An interesting thing about Turanga was that the airspace above the vineyard seemed to be where planes would turn around. So throughout the night, planes would fly overhead and you couldn't help but watch it fly over. Boyfriend took a photo with my camera as it went over.

During Aaradhna's set, which had featured songs like 'Getting Stronger' and 'Great Man', Che Fu joined on stage to sing back up on some of her songs. He'd swing along and harmonise, so it was nice to see that act support on stage. I mean if you're at a festival filled with five different talented artists, it's a good place to provide a unique experience for the audience like having artists you wouldn't often see singing together.

Towards the setting sun.
As it started getting darker, the setting was picturesque. The moon positioned right over the forest covered hills around the vineyard and the stage felt like no other concert in Auckland.

Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins
I'll admit during Jamie McDell, Che Fu and Aaradhna, I hadn't made the effort to venture out of my seat to take photos.  So all the photos before were made just sitting in my chair with my massive zoom lens.  At first I was just cautious about not having any photopass and getting my nice DSLR camera taken off me. And then I realised no one really cared. So during Missy Higgins' set I got up to the crowd and took some better shots.

I dig her hair.
I dig Missy in general.
Photo taken by Boyfriend
Boyfriend, who was a bit hurt that he hadn't brought his own fancy DSLR camera long (after I told him I wasn't sure if photography would be allowed at SVT) felt a bit empty and heartbroken.  So I let him lose with my camera and he took some good shots of his own.

Che Fu takes the turntables.
Between acts, while Che Fu was DJing, people were moving about and doing their own things. I spotted these two guys waving bubble wands around which kids jumped and chased about. People were serving food to each other, helping others carry drinks. There was a real nice community feel to it all.
(Something I noticed about the people at this festival - there was one particular group of older adults sitting next to us that had their own bread and dip ramekins on platters, and were serving cheese on crackers cut on their own cheeseboard. Shows the different sorts of class this audience had.)

As it got darker, I took this awesome photo of the moon that had appeared with my zoom lens. If you look close enough you can actually see the craters. It was nice to be beneath the sky, where it was clear and wasn't spoiled by light pollution.

With a strong noise and a loud crowd cheer, Opshop entered the stage and lead man Jason Kerrison sounded pumped. The audience, who were very wine and beer fuelled, had definitely gotten more loose and enthusiastic too.

Only in this crowd was it classy to carry your wine bottle into the Summer Vineyard audience.

Having never seen Opshop perform live in person, I didn't actually know what sort of performance we'd see out of them. I don't know why I thought they'd be quite a serious band (then again, songs like One Day and the fact that Jason Kerrison always wears suits could have been where I got my assumptions from). But they're definitely a lighthearted, playful, good ol' Kiwi band. And they knew how to entertain the crowd and get them involved, with old school song singalongs, dancing, and even getting some people up on stage to sing with the band.

Opshop even knew how to tease them the right way as they ended their set.
"We hope you had a good night tonight. It's time for our pretend last song!"

Boyfriend and I didn't actually stay for the entire Opshop encore as we wanted to trek out of the vineyard and dusty carpark before it got too busy. But we really had such a great time there. Whether you were up front near the stage or just chilling in your outdoor chair, Summer Vineyard is one of those events where all you need to do is relax, take in the summer air, sing with the music and just have a good time with friends.

And if the acts next year are going to be as good this year, I'd happy say yes to going along to Summer Vineyard 2014.

Photos taken by both myself and Darryl K. All rights reserved.

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