Big birthday bash for entertainers

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EXPECT big names, big sound and big celebrations at the 30th anniversary of the ILT Southland Entertainment Awards show on March 30.

Hosted by the Southland Musicians’ Club, show convener Chris Chilton said a stellar line-up of homegrown entertainment would perform at the birthday bash, including Kiwi pop sensation Jason Kerrison and Los Angeles-based songstress Helen Henderson.

“Because it’s a special occasion we decided to do a one-off commemorative show honouring past award winners, and it’s turned out to be a bigger and better thing,” Chilton said.

In previous years there were more category awards but for the 30th anniversary the committee decided to have a bigger show with more performances.

There are five finalists up for the main Southland Entertainer of the Year award: David McMeeking, Jenny Mitchell, Brendan Mason, Ma Bradshaw and Stephen Wilcox. The winner will be determined by a combination of 55% public voting on the night and 45% judges’ choice.

It has been 35 years since Invercargill band Airstrike took to the stage and original members Peter Chilton, Neil Chilton, Neil Sutherland and Paul Maaka will be joined by Dave Gent, bass player for the Exponents, to bring their rock sound to the show.

Pretty Wicked Head and the Desperate Men – a top Southland rock band from the 1980s – and past winners Shannon Cooper-Garland, Michelle Lange, Neil Chilton and current title-holder Stephen Hayes will also perform.

Suzanne Prentice was to be a headline act but because of “unexpected developments” she was no longer able to perform, Chilton said.

The annual awards show had come a long way from its humble beginnings at the Southland Musicians Club on Preston St in 1987, he said.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a sell-out show at the Civic.”

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