Written by Sheryl Burson
As well as being the Festival Director, David is also one of the originators of the event. The festival has had a slight name tweak this year, it was formerly known as the Titirangi Festival Of Music. Whilst still having a huge music lineup, more styles of events have been included to make it more inclusive for the community as a whole. Over a coffee he tells me some of its history and how he came to be involved.
David has always been passionate about two things. Bringing people together at events and music. He tells me about his early involvement in his church’s events. He said seeing the enjoyment peoples got from these events has fed a lifelong desire and connection with getting people together. David Parker was a key player (and lead vocalist) in late 80s band Rhythm Cage, who put out three singles. After the band came to an end, two singles were released under the name The Parker Project. The first single— a cover of 70s soul single ‘Tears on My Pillow’, by American Johnny Nash — topped the Kiwi singles charts in June 1991. Since 2008, Parker has been a member of ukulele trio The Nukes, with three albums under their belt.
His musical success later spurred a regular monthly music night called, ‘Toolshed Tales’ in the venue that is now the Hardware Cafe. The popularity of these nights inspired a bright spark to say to Dave that they should make it into a festival. This was back in 2004. After months of hard work and countless hours of organising and planning, the first Titirangi Festival Of Music happened in 2005. The event lasted for three whole weeks and showcased numerous acts. At the end of the festival an exhausted David went to bed, where he stayed for several days suffering from complete exhaustion. He laughed wryly whilst explaining he didn’t know how he didn’t end up going insane or being divorced during the arduous process of getting a new event off the ground in that year. It had not been an easy project to persuade businesses and sponsors to take part in. Despite all of this he persevered and the event is now in it twelfth year. The festival is a much shorter time frame and is trying to include more events for the community as a whole. Creativity and connectivity are the key-words of this years event.
So what can you expect in the village in the upcoming Titirangi Festival on the 23rd / 24th of March. This year, for the first time, there will be a central festival space in front of the Titirangi War Memorial Hall. It will feature giant street games, arts activities and competitions. A marquee will stretch out over the outdoor stage and audience, and there will be a street food market, stilt walkers, buskers and street performers will help bring the whole village to life.
A great programme awaits, created by local musician and radio DJ Dan Sperber. Headlining the concert lineup on Sat 24th will be iconic NZ musician Don McGlashan. He will perform acoustically in an intimate concert. Don is the author of kiwi classics ‘Dominion Road’, ‘Anchor Me’, ‘White Valiant’, ‘Bathe In The River’,’Andy’, ‘Don’t Fight It Marsha…’ , ‘Miracle Sun’ and many more.
The free outdoor lineup is a guaranteed hip-mover featuring a wide selection of local acts, from the fresh hip-hop electronica of Yoko-Zuna to the uplifting Afrobeat of ljebu Pleasure Club and the world street sounds of festival favourites Mhara Marimbas.
Friday night’s concert features the legendary brass section of the much-loved NZ group Supergroove; Nick Atkinson and Tim Stewart, AKA Hopetoun Brown. The pair brought the house down show in 2016 in support of Dave Dobbyn. This time they headline, performing songs from their new album and sharing the bill (and no doubt the stage) with Finn Scholes’ glorious sci-fi mariachi band, Carnivorous Plant Society. With support from one of Auckland’s most finely seasoned selectors, DJ Dubhead.
This year’s festival also looks beyond music to bring together the community and celebrate the many reasons Titirangi is such an interesting and beautiful place to live. The festival will be supporting events such as Te Uru Gallery’s ‘From Scratch’ exhibition (part of Auckland Arts Festival), the ‘Flicks’ music-themed movie season in the Titirangi Theatre, the APO performance workshops in local schools, as well as a panel discussion at SOUL Centre hosted by ‘Changing Minds’, discussing “Finding the balance… healthy approaches to working in the arts in Aotearoa”.
*Images courtesy of Titirangi Festival