January 5, 2023
Minutes before he took the stage at the Revitalise Festival, Jon Toogood emerged from a swiftly arranged tour of organiser Tim Gow's farm, ready to enthuse about crop rotation and ancient practices.
"It's awesome,'' he said.
"Animals happy, land happy, it works, and you don't have to buy industrial fertilisers off anyone because it fertilises itself - I find that revitalising.''
One of the country's most celebrated rockers then took the stage to play not before the teeming audiences of a Shihad gig, but about 100 entirely laid-back people.
The word had reached Toogood (Shihad’s frontman) that Gow was a passionate music fan, and that was itself a real motivation to bring some friends down for the festival.
Music fans can spread out right across the festival site, so it's seldom a squash. (KAVINDA HERATH/STUFF)
Word of the festival's appeal for participants still needed to reach a few more people, he said, but Toogood had no problem playing to small crowds or even one person.
"This is much more discerning,'' he said. "It's more of a human experience.' Playing in Shihad was great - 'like riding a dragon' - but up on stage felt, at times, like a master of ceremonies.
"This is a more human experience. It's working different muscles for me. I like trying to make a show happen with a bit of wood in my hand and my voice, rather than relying on a big stack of Marshalls (speakers) and light shows.”
His set proved a combination of his own songs and others that he'd loved as a child. Child?
"I was two, dude. Music fan since my earliest memories.''
Strictly speaking, his earliest was a lolly jar. But the second, he swears, was getting so up-close-and-personal with his parents' turntable that some of his young teeth had picked up black from the vinyl.
Run for three days from January 2 to 4, the event known as the “coolest little music festival” on the edge of Fiordland is a massive supporter of New Zealand music.
Gow is probably not regarded as your average farmer, nor is he your likely festival promoter but word of his festival that is run on his western Southland farm and in his woolshed is growing.
Gow and his wife Helen run Mangapiri Downs Organic Studfarm, and they also run the entire 469ha with electric vehicles.
It was the electric vehicles that formed the basis of the festival after they hosted an EV event on the farm in 2019. Gow decided to make a day of it and invited musicians.
The three-day festival combines music with holistic and healing workshops.
In 2022 the festival featured in a national travel magazine, and that had helped to lift its profile, along with support from economic agency Great South to promote it further, Gow said.
However, he doesn’t want it to grow to a massive event and for it to lose what makes it special.
Repeated from Stuff Article by Michael Fallow 15:19, Jan 04 2023