Rotorua's hugely popular free Lakeside concert is coming of age and next year's show is going to be "Epic".

The 21st annual Lakeside concert was launched tonight at Skyline Rotorua by Lakeside 2017 artistic director Tim Beveridge and Rotorua Lakeside Charitable Trust chairman Ian Edward.

The free outdoor show will be on Saturday, March 11, with the same stage set-up as this year, and will feature the return of international opera star Simon O'Neil, Kiwi favourites Jason Kerrison and Annie Crummer, along with acrobatic troupe The Dust Palace, featuring Rotorua's own Eve Gordon.

Music will be provided by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Guy Noble.


Mr Beveridge said he faced an enormous challenge trying to make next year's concert even better than this year's 20th anniversary show.

"Which is one of the reasons we decided to call next year's show Epic."

He said the final lineup including a range of local acts, who would be announced as they signed the dotted line.

"The last concert was everything I wanted it to be, so we have to try really hard to build on that.

"It was a new format and it really worked.

"If you didn't see it last year, you would have heard about it, so get along and don't miss out."

Mr Beveridge said next year's show would have a bit more rock and roll with songs by Led Zeppelin and Prince, plus special tributes to some of the biggest global acts to recently leave the stage for the last time. But he was not too keen to give everything away .

Mr Edward said the trust's mission statement was to "bring together the best of Maori, classical and contemporary talent in a format that was accessible to every citizen of the region".

"A concert of international standard so the community can leverage off the event to do business and tell Rotorua's story to the rest of the country."

He said he was pleased they could bring back international opera star Simon O'Neil, who is booked out around the world until 2023.

"Simon's universal appeal was evident this year and to have him here is a real treat.

"It's also our 21st, so it will also be a time for us to reflect on some of the great moments in the past with Sir Howard Morrison, The Drifters and with great sadness, Ray Columbus, who performed at Lakeside in 2003."

The show will conclude with another enormous fireworks display set to the famous 1812 Overture.

Lakeside 2017 - Epic
- Saturday, March 11 at the Village Green, Rotorua lakefront
- Music from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Guy Noble
- Featuring Simon O'Neil, Jason Kerrison, Annie Crummer and The Dust Palace
- More performers, including local acts, to be announced
- Fantastic fireworks finale set to the 1812 Overture
- Free entry