If Covid-19 hadn't struck L.A.B. would not have been forced into a break or likely have had the time to re-evaluate their New Zealand shows.

Now, it is looking like the Bay of Plenty band will sell out their biggest headline performances to date.

Within minutes of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Monday announcement that New Zealand would move to Covid-19 alert level 1 from yesterday, the Bay of Plenty band announced their Auckland and Hamilton shows would move forward to July, serving as a celebration of the easing of restrictions and the return of mass gatherings.

The Auckland show moves from the Auckland Town Hall on October 31 to Spark Arena on July 3, and the sold-out Claudelands Arena show in Hamilton moves from November 20 to July 11.


Both shows will be the first events back in both venues in more than three months and will be L.A.B.'s largest headline performances to date. Tickets for the original shows remain valid for the new dates.

L.A.B. lead vocalist, Mount Maunganui's Joel Shadbolt, said when they first announced an Auckland show at The Powerstation the show sold out in nine minutes, which they were excited about. It was then moved to the Auckland Town Hall, also selling out.

if Covid-19 hadn't hit, they would unlikely have had a "forced break" or the time to consider an even bigger venue.

"It's been the longest break we've had in three years," Shadbolt said.

"It's kind of been a blessing in disguise," he said.

Tickets for their Spark Arena show went on sale at 9am on Tuesday morning and within an hour Shadbolt said they had already sold 1100 tickets. By the end of the day, there were only limited tickets left, with the event likely to sell out.

"It's pretty crazy."

He said being able to sell out their shows had been "really humbling".


Shadbolt said they could not wait to get back on stage and play a full 90-minute set.

Creatively, Shadbolt said they didn't do a lot during the Covid-19 alert levels but were now in Wellington for their second week of recording their fourth album.

Straight after their own shows, L.A.B. join the Good Vibes Winter Festival, an eight-day touring festival being held in Gisborne, Rotorua, Wellington, Napier, Hamilton, Mount Maunganui, Auckland and Whangārei between July 17 to August 8.

L.A.B headline all dates with the exception of Auckland, Hamilton and Porirua, where Kora will lead the charge.

The festival will visit Rotorua's Village Green on July 18, featuring L.A.B, Katchafire, Sons Of Zion, Ardijah, Three Houses Down and General Fiyah, Victor J Sefo and Che Fu before heading to Mount Maunganui's Soper Reserve on August 1, with the only change being Lomez Brown part of the line-up instead of Victor J Sefo.

Joel Shadbolt of L.A.B and Tauranga promoter Pato Alvarez. Photo / Supplied
Joel Shadbolt of L.A.B and Tauranga promoter Pato Alvarez. Photo / Supplied

Tauranga promoter Pato Alvarez said despite the uncertainties during Covid-19, he and his team had been working non-stop throughout the alert levels and were excited to be bringing live music back to the communities.

"We are very excited to get back to work, the artists are excited, the whole music industry's so excited," Alvarez said.

On Monday, it was announced the festival would go ahead on the original dates as planned, sparking a massive boost in ticket sales for both the Rotorua and Mount gigs.

Rotorua's venue had a capacity of 3000 and Mount Maunganui's was 3500. With both events about 70 per cent capacity, Alvarez expected both shows to sell out.

"The support has been incredible," he said.

"People are more confident, they want to do something, they're supporting music and we're very thankful."

Alvarez said he was proud of Kiwis for supporting the music industry and for following the Covid-19 rules that helped New Zealand lay claim to having zero active Covid-19 cases.

As a touring festival, Alvarez said they would be doing their bit to help each of the local communities they visited, through hiring locals where possible and supporting the local economy with accommodation for artists, food and more.

"We like to keep it local everywhere we go."