A large crowd at Collards Tavern on Saturday night lapped up what four bands on the bill at Kaitāia’s MetalFest had to offer.
Despite relentless organisational challenges, the festival’s third instalment was nothing less than a rip-roaring success, according to organisers and delighted punters.
Local metal lover Dwayne said the bands represented a wide range of the metal and rock genres without ego, and was blown away by their original songs.
“A massive mihi and aroha to all the bands and the crowd that came. You were all without fail sensational. I have a bloody sore neck,” he said.
Headliners the enigmatic Planet Hunter from Wellington capped the night off with a stonking set that left onlookers exhausted and deeply impressed; this, despite the challenge of following Auckland’s Teraset, who delivered a ferocious frenzy of old-school death metal.
Both headline acts rode in on a wave of excitement created by local acts The Shard and FNA, who took no prisoners in warming up the crowd for the ensuing heavy metal onslaught.
A “very stoked” Kaitaia MetalFest 3 spokesman Frankie Malley said it was a fantastic evening on all levels, but had been anything but plain sailing in the days leading up to the event.
Organisers had to overcome logistical setbacks that included two of the three scheduled travelling bands having to pull out for unavoidable reasons — one due to a guitarist with a broken arm, and another with a drummer down with Covid-19.
The atmospheric-river weather event that drenched Northland last week tested nerves, with its potential to cut off artists’ access to the Far North.
“In true last-minute fashion, and thanks mostly to help and support from everyone involved, everything came together just right and gave us an unforgettable night of musical mayhem,” Malley said.
Malley said the support of local businesses and organisations made Kaitāia MetalFest 3 a strong community event, with significant funding from Creative Communities NZ, endorsement from the local Arts Far North group and sponsorship by Kaitāia businesses.
Travelling bands received vouchers to eat at local restaurants Turkish Kebabs and Pizzas and Coast to Coast Bakery, while dozens of spot prizes given out on the night included bottles of Kaitāia Fire, concert T-shirts by 9Tee Mile Screenprint and Design, and Pak’nSave vouchers.
“Every act really stepped up and played amazingly, the audience got into it like nobody’s business, and the love and support on display was absolutely heartwarming,” Malley said.
Malley also said while running a show of its nature was exhausting, the payoff had been worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears.
As exhausted festival organisers are known to do, he also admitted to considering making Saturday night his last MetalFest.
However, he would have fans to answer to, with anticipation for the festival’s fourth instalment already brewing.
Drew, a visitor to the Far North who attended, described it as “a special event with heaps of good buggers” and hoped it would grow bigger.
Local punter Jerry said the crowd made the night what it was and declared metal in the Far North “alive and well”.