John Drinnan

Media writer for the New Zealand Herald

Taxpayers to help Kiwi stars shine at UK festival

King Kapisi. Photo / Kenny Rodger
King Kapisi. Photo / Kenny Rodger

Taxpayers are helping Kiwi musicians to take to the stage at this month's Glastonbury Music Festival in Britain.

Creative NZ has given rapper King Kapisi and soul singer Bella Kalolo $27,000 for return airfares to be part of a special Australia and NZ showcase on one of many stages. Hip-hop diva Ladi6 is in Europe with $13,000 as a taxpayer grant to tour.

Other top New Zealand acts Shapeshifter and Phoenix Foundation will play at the famous festival under their own steam.

And Wellington-based Electric Wire Hustle will also make their own way there.

Glastonbury organisers say the show is "a hand-picked selection of the jewels of New Zealand and Australia's dance scenes".

Creative NZ paid Glastonbury festival booker Malcolm Haynes to come to New Zealand to select talent.

Music lawyer Chris Hocquard has observed that the agency appears to be focused on "arty bands".

The grants illustrate the array of taxpayer handouts for pop music from state agencies, even in tough times.

The Music Commission is spending $400,000 a year helping with touring costs via its Outward Sound scheme.

Creative NZ's support provided to all New Zealand bands to perform overseas is $180,500.

New Zealand On Air recently announced a $2.5 million fund to make records and theoretically is focused on radio airplay, Mr Hocquard said. It gave $50,000 for an album by Annabel Fay, daughter of rich-lister Sir Michael Fay.

Creative NZ spokeswoman Cath Cardiff said the return from its travel grants was enabling Kiwi acts to gain exposure. There might not be an immediate benefit but it enabled groups "to be more sustainable in the long term".

Travel grants might encourage bands to move overseas. But that was inevitable, given New Zealand's size, she said. There was no option but to export - and the pay-off was that it put NZ on a world stage.

CREATIVE AID

* $180,500 available to help NZ musicians overseas.

* $27,000 grant to King Kapisi and Bella Kalola for airfares.

* $13,000grant for Ladi6's European tour.

- NZ Herald

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