After we woke up in the new decade to an otherworldly yellow haze in the skies from across the ditch, many are feeling somewhat helpless: how can we help our Aussie cousins? For local actor Jay Simon, this was certainly the case. The answer: a local fundraising ‘Wānaka Aussi Aid’ concert.
Simon explained that since posing the idea of a fundraising concert on Facebook early in the week, the idea turned into a large-scale community effort virtually overnight. Roger North, owner of local cafe/bar Kai Whakapai, jumped onboard, offering their outdoor performance area. On top of this, a plethora of local musicians and volunteers ranging from their early teens to their 70’s have banded together in support.
With a range of styles, combos, performers, and genres it will be an event for lovers of all kinds of music. Even in the school holiday break, the Mount Aspiring College music department are kindly lending gear for use during the concert.
“A lot of people feel frustrated, not sure what they can do,” said Simon, “the concert gives people a chance to get involved. I’m humbled by the support. It will include solos, acoustics, bands, backing, country, folk, pop, and jazz… we have had people trying to jump on board politically and we’re just not interested. We’re strictly concerned with the people.”
To catch out all those without cash on the day or those who can’t make it, a givealittle page has been set up to collect donations for the firefighters and animal welfare workers facing the devastation in Australia. At the time of writing, the page has already raised $4,440.00 and Simon sees this going even further on the day of the concert, potentially raising over $10,000 for the cause.
The Wānaka Aussi Aid Concert will be held outside Kai Whakapai between 10am-4pm on Friday January 10. For more information on how to donate online, visit the event’s Facebook page (hosted on the Upper Clutha Community Notices page).