Top artists clamour for venue date

By Nathan Crombie


Rockstars from across the country are clamouring for a royal audience at the King Street Live concert venue opening in Masterton next month.

Featherston musician and Stone Feather Studios owner Warren Maxwell joined forces last year with Masterton businessman Carl Schdroski to open the King St venue, which will be the first of its kind in the region dedicated to live acts and events including music, comedy, drama and fashion.

King Street Live opens on May 9 during New Zealand Music Month, Mr Maxwell said, and on May 11 will feature double platinum-selling soloist Tiki Taane in an acoustic and DJ set as inaugural guest artist.

The boutique venue, which will cater for up to 250 people, also will feature a garden bar and restaurant kitchen at the eastern end of the Chilton Buildings owned by Mr Schdroski.

King Street Live will at first stage acts from Thursday to Saturday nights, Mr Maxwell said, although performances may later run on other nights as well.

Tickets for most acts would cost about $20 or $25 but "bigger" bands and performers could command a greater price, he said.

There had been significant Wairarapa support already shown for King Street Live and interest excited among elite Kiwi artists eager to play a quality provincial venue. Big acts are lining up to be booked, he said.

"A lot of locals I talk to have this look of elation when they hear about it and my connections with the New Zealand music community are the tie, the link, to getting the royalty of New Zealand music down here - the Dave Dobbyns, Don McGlashans and Annie Crummers."

Mr Maxwell, a UCOL Wairarapa music tutor and former sax player with Wellington band Fat Freddy's Drop, has worked in Wairarapa youth music since shifting to Featherston six years ago and was in the first season of television show Songs From The Inside.

Mr Schdroski said the initial idea for King Street was sparked during a chat with Mr Maxwell about a lack of youth music venues in the region.

"We were talking about youth not being able to play anywhere and this venue was coming up and it just evolved from there.

"It was all about youth music and that was the impetus."

Mr Schdroski, a qualified upholsterer, has for more than 20 years run Country Life Furniture at the site, where he also has three tenants, who support the venue.

The two men had since their discussion last year become near obsessed with the live venue, he said, which had subsequently earned the title of 'The Other Woman'.

"This is almost my mistress, I'm just so obsessed with her potential," Mr Maxwell said. "She just won't let us rest and getting her open and cranking and getting in the bands is everything right now."

Family will be the backbone of King Street Live and will comprise his partner Ange Kalogeropoulos as booking agent, he said, his brother Alan Maxwell as bar manager, and Mr Schdroski's wife Toni handling the books.

International acts will be targeted and live performances recorded, he said, in a bid to tap "the potential the venue has to give so much good to our community - artists and patrons".

"Everyone has had to go to Wellington before now and it's been only the vineyards where we occasionally get a chance to see some our best performers live. But this will be a concert venue all year round that is not weather dependent.

"The key will be the diversity of the music and the entertainment and for King Street Live to be a good place for good people to have a good time."

Tickets for Tiki Taane from www.dashtickets.co.nz or via www.kingstreetlive.co.nz, which launches this week.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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