Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Christchurch Hospital and Hagley High School, ...Image via Wikipedia
Crowd of  over 100,000  partied at Hagley Park last weekend in  Christchurch earthquake relief concert...

Crowds continue to stream into earthquake relief concert Band Together in Hagley Park this afternoon, with numbers approaching 100,000.

The audience, a mix of all age groups, appears good natured with emergency services reporting few problems.

Police have reported no trouble so far apart from a few "lost children" and St John have only transported one person to hospital who was suffering from a medical condition.

Ex Fur Patrol singer Julia Deans is currently performing with Prime Minister John Key expected to arrive soon.

The concert will run until 8pm and acts still to come include The Exponents, The Feelers, Dave Dobbyn and Bic Runga.

Mayor Bob Parker said he was looking forward to the performances, although not so much to his guitar cameo.

"I think the thought of the concert has kept us going over the last few weeks. It's going to be an amazing day," he said.

Parker said Band Together would give Cantabrians a chance to celebrate their resilience and think about "all the things we didn't lose" during the September 4 earthquake.

"Although things are still difficult for many people, there were no lives lost, and that's worth recognising."

The televised concert was a chance to show gratitude to those outside Canterbury who had helped out in the quake aftermath, Parker said.

He confirmed he would have a small part playing guitar with his "rock'n'roll heroes", The Bats.

"I haven't done too much practice," he said. "I think I'll just slide to the back of the stage."

One of the concert organisers, Opshop frontman Jason Kerrison, said driving around quake-damaged Dallington yesterday brought home the amount of rebuilding work to be done.

"Therefore I cannot use the word exciting when talking about the Band Together concert – not when people are using portable toilets at their front gate and still don't have any water," he said.

"The word I would use to describe how I feel is `overwhelmed' – overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has made the day work."

Kerrison said the concert was about families and the city getting together and relaxing and having fun together.

"I've watched this go from an idea to an email thread, and yesterday I stood in Hagley Park while a guy told me this was the biggest setup the council had ever been involved with. It's humbling," he said.

Exponents singer Jordan Luck said at a sound check last night that the band members wanted to do their part to help their home region.

"It goes without saying that we wouldn't be here without Canterbury people," he said. "We were formed here and we played pretty much every venue we could."

Luck said many Cantabrians appeared to be in a state of "psychological devastation".

Ad Feedback The concert was a chance for people "just to enjoy how beautiful Christchurch is", he said.

Council marketing manager Richard Stokes said concertgoers should use public transport if possible as there would be no public parking available at the concert. Council car parks would be open later than usual to allow people to park there and walk to the concert.

Stokes said people would need to be patient. The council would close some roads around Hagley Park to manage traffic and ease safety concerns, he said.

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