Parachute Festival Flies High: Concert Review

Parachute 2001 – January 26-29 Totara Springs-
Matamata, New Zealand
Bigger than ever, more stages, acts and events that you could shake a stick
at, Parachute 2001 was an event that drew Top line acts from overseas and
local artists and a crowd that was estimated to peak at 25,000 for Saturdays
Mainstage event- The Newsboys.
We attended Saturday and Sunday evening events and below are some of my
observations and opinion on what we saw. The Festival is very much a
“youth orientated ” event, however you do get families attending as well,
the atmosphere of the site is very “safe” and the crowds are well behaved
and friendly. Tents spread out in all directions and spill out onto the
rolling pastures, which surround Totara Springs. Don’t plan on getting much
sleep however, most stages have acts going till about 2 am, for those Hard
core party goers, there is the N’Dorphin Village which is pumping till 6 am.
We checked it out briefly, it was a mix of trance/ house / Funky dance
music, drumming & poetry injected with a unique South Pacific flavor.
The Newsboys were a fun act. The crowd really responded to them and it was
such a buzz to watch and participate in the atmosphere generated. The crowd
was”moshing ” hard out through plenty of their songs, but it was also about
giving Glory to God in a contemporary, relevant style. Singer Peter
Furler spoke briefly then led the audience into a chorus of “Hallelujah ”
as they left the stage.
We heard for the first time an Australian Band – “Paul Coleman Trio ” who we
enjoyed immensely. They really connected with the audience, had fun with
them and injected humor into their act. Their sound was excellent, and the
guys performed a range of songs from their newly released CD. ….it was
catchy, fun, and got the crowd jumping. Watch out for this up and coming
group. And I loved the bright orange industrial overalls they all wore!
Favorite New Zealand band ” The Lads ” performed a range of their songs,
with their well known energetic and quirky style. Somehow they reminded me
of the early days of famous 70s NZ band “Split Enz”… Slightly odd but
fun lyrics performed with lots of energy and humour. They also released
their new single.literally..It was tied to a bunch of balloons and launched
into the star filled sky, as they sang their first public performance.
Sunday Night was a line-up of local and overseas bands with worship Theme to
the evening. The well-known (New Zealand) Parachute Band played a variety
of songs from their Praise/ Worship CDs and created a wonderful worship
atmosphere. Third Day was excellent. Their sound was really good and the
audience responded to them with enthusiasm and warmth. It was a nice touch
when lead singer Mac Powell brought out his daughter half way through the
concert and introduced her to the crowd, and 20,000 people oohed , ahhed and
waved to her. And then they took a photograph of the crowd as their
backdrop.
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed the experiences of the Parachute Festival
and the bands we saw.

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