Battle of Hastings

It is hard to sell the idea of a trip to Hastings to anybody especially when you add in these highlights.

  • 5-6 hours drive through some winding roads in the rain
  • one star accommodation, sharing a room with farting strangers
  • prison shower block
  • forced small-talk with people obsessed with weird foreign drumming music
  • walk through the town, smiling at confused strangers banging a drum onto your shins
  • bleeding onto your instrument (100% effort Brady)
  • wearing a shower cap to humiliate yourself on stage
  • Hawkes Bay souvenirs include tinitus, blisters, hangover, longing for own bed and a quiet room.

Putting this aside, I am sure that we all had a mega time and well done to April who made it her first gig with the team.

After the long wait to parade, we slotted in towards the back end. In previous years, we had joined the ranks of Wellington, but this time we were AKSAMBA. It was great to see local players Bays Batucada, the newest Samba group in New Zealand in action being lead by Phil (previously from Tauranga samba)

After a pit stop for chips and a cold beer, we headed back to perform as a mega band of over 60 players in front of the main stage and the massive crowd (not). This was absolutely magnificent and I am sure we rattled some windows more than the 1931 earthquake.

A long soak in the hot pools was just the tonic for aching limbs and after a communal dinner at the marae, the evening rolled on with great entertainment till after midnight.

We had been practicing our synchronised swimming act but little did any of us know that Wellington were doing exactly the same thing even with a cardboard shark’s fin.

One showstopper which all of us could not believe we were witnessing was “Elevare” . A copy of a Cirque de Solei strength act starring Darren and Nina. You had to be there.

New friendships were made and old acquaintances were hugged.

The Samba family is very healthy and this makes it all worth while.

Some photos are here



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