In your stride: Lockdown artist’s magical musical mystery tour

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Artist Sarah-Jane Blake is bringing cheer to level 4 Waiheke with her Lockdown Gigs Billsticker Project, a virtual concert tour mapped out around Ostend.

The daughter of late New Zealand sailing legend Sir Peter Blake, who recently traded her live-aboard life on 43-foot sloop Darth Vader for Waiheke Island, hopes the project will put a spring in our step by turning lockdown walks into a magical mystery tour.

With a background in design for theatre, dance and live art events, Sarah-Jane came up with the concept and recruited musical friends and family to record performances. She then designed concert posters, which she has now placed in public spaces around Ostend. They can be activated on your phone using the free app Zappar and, using augmented reality, the posters come to life as little secret performances and music concerts in themselves.

“I started the project for my family in the United Kingdom in February when it was pretty bleak over there and I was really worried about them and I was just thinking about uplifting things I could do,” she said.

“I had been working with augmented reality and I thought it would be cool to see if I could do a project online over there.”

When lockdown was announced in New Zealand last week, Sarah-Jane decided it was time to resurrect the project to entertain people on their lockdown walks here.

“I know it’s a digital thing, but you have to explore your local neighbourhood to find them and that’s kind of part of it,” she said.

“When I came up with it, I was thinking what can’t we do? We can’t go to see music live and how could you make that happen virtually?

“It’s just to get people to look around their local area, but in a different way, which I think is uplifting. The main thing is just to entertain people.”

You can check out one of the performances by scanning the poster on the page opposite with Zappar. It features Sarah-Jane’s aunt, Louise Burnet, who was a flautist with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Local artists are now invited to put together a performance to help extend the tour. “It’s just in Ostend at the moment, depending on how long lockdown goes on for I have another set I can put up in Oneroa.

“If any local musicians want to get involved, they can look at the artist information pack on my website for details of what to do. I have got time now to do more posters and videos.”

To find out more go to sarahjaneblake.com and look under Current Work or email sjblake29@gmail.com • Liza Hamilton

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