LISYAH Wilson and Lucy Tarapi huddle under a picnic blanket during an unexpected small downpour at the Lantern Festival held at Princess Street Reserve on Saturday. Photo John Morin D9472-107

OPOTIKI saw an amazing line-up of gospel, kapa haka, reggae, soul singers and artists from across the globe on Saturday at the annual Opotiki Lantern Festival.

Thousands gathered inside Princess Street Reserve in the town centre for the annual event where comedian, singer and MC Anika Moa kept the crowds entertained for hours with her Kiwi humour and puns.

The stellar line-up saw performances from Kiwi reggae band 1814 who performed their number one hit Morning Star, and female band, Daughters of Ally from Hamilton, followed closely by local singer-songwriter Anavah Boushur who wowed the crowds with her musical talent.

Headlining the show was the famous international gospel, soul and R&B singer, Parson James with his debut and rendition of Tennessee Whiskey, Betty Who and Only You.

The family-focused event, which takes more than six months to organise and collaborate with all the artists, was a huge success, if not dampened slightly by some unexpected rain.

I-SITE manager Joseph Hayes said the patchy weather didn’t stop the community from enjoying themselves though and spirits were high.

“We’ve had great feedback from the community about the event. People really enjoyed the range of music and the calibre of talent,” he said.

“1814 were happy with the event as it is the first time in a long time that they’ve performed with kids and adults together. It was a nice change and touch,” he said.

People from across the North Island including Gisborne, Hamilton and Rotorua were there to enjoy the alcohol and smoke-free event, the line-up, the fireworks display, and laser show which was a crowd favourite.

“People were jumping and trying to touch the red laser beams. It was an awesome event,” he said.