Hamilton band The Monroes have had many career highlights in their 12-year existence, from performing in India to backing ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons (twice), but they all agree Thursday, February 4 tops them all.
To celebrate the return of their stolen musical equipment, The Monroes want to give back in the only way they know how, by putting on a free concert on Sunday, March 14 at the Hamilton Lake stage to thank the public and to do what they do, which is entertain.
Band member Layton Lillas says 2020 was a devastating year for The Monroes and the entertainment industry as a whole as the Covid-19 lockdown, and alert level changes shut down events and functions, the type of work which is "bread and butter" for the band.
By the end of the year as Christmas parties filled their diary again, they were looking forward to a productive and hopefully profitable recovery in 2021.
"However. on the morning of January 20, disaster struck, when the band were alerted by the storage facility where the band's trailer was being kept over summer, that thieves had broken in overnight and taken the trailer which was – unbeknownst to them – full of over $100,000 of musical equipment," Layton said.
What happened next was simply amazing. A post on social media from Monroes singer Nicola Thomson was shared over 12,000 times, and the national media from TV, radio and print – including Waikato News – all jumped on the story and spread the pictures of the equipment far and wide to help the police efforts to recover the gear.
Two weeks later as nothing had come from various leads, a CCTV photo of the vehicle which had stolen the trailer was released on Facebook.
"Then a small miracle happened, Layton says. "While a farmer was moving his stock between paddocks on the outskirts of Hamilton, he spotted the road cases which 'had' to be from this band whose story he'd heard about, and within 30 minutes the band were reunited with their equipment and back in business."
In that dark fortnight when the future of the band was in turmoil, many fundraising ideas were brought up in an attempt to purchase the equipment needed to keep going.
Nothing felt quite right, however, as all they wanted to do was to recover their equipment, not take the generous offerings that were coming from people far and wide.
"Putting on a free show feels like the most appropriate way for musicians like us to say thank you."
Where and When
Everyone is invited, it is totally free and family-friendly.
Venue: Hamilton Lake stage, Hamilton Lake Domain
Date: Sunday March 14, 4pm to 7pm
Bring your deckchairs, picnic blankets, food, water and anything else you need to have a fun summer party with The Monroes and special guests.