Thousands of people packed into Rotorua's Village Green on Saturday night to witness the spectacle that was the 20th Lakeside Concert.

The theme for this year's free community concert was "Symphony", and in true symphonic style the Auckland Philharmonia began the main programme with a stirring rendition of one of the most recognisable modern classical pieces - the theme to Star Wars.

Rotorua's own Tim Beveridge ran the show and was joined on stage by popular acts Elisha Hulton, Anna Leese, Jackie Clarke, Rewa Ututaonga, Maisey Rika and locals the Edward Brothers and Howard Morrison jnr.

Trapeze act The Dust Palace wowed the crowd with death-defying grace, and internationally renowned opera singer Simon O'Neill and conductor Guy Noble proved why they are sought after in their respective fields.


The night was rounded out by an amazing fireworks display set to the music of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

Concert organiser Ian Edward said he was already hatching plans for next year's concert, but would first go through a debrief this week.

"Just after half-time each year I go for a wander round. The crowd was close to capacity.
"They were a very mellow and happy crowd that were there."

Mr Edward said in selecting the programme they made sure there was something for everybody, "something our community can relate to and we were absolutely delighted with the whole thing".

"That was Rotorua's great night out. It's activities like this that gives us a immense sense of pride in Rotorua.

"From the trust's point of view it was an outstanding result, certainly enhanced by the wonderful weather conditions.

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"Just after the concert I spoke to a doctor from London and told me he had never seen anything like it there, and asked for a DVD to be sent to him."