UK rapper Slowthai holds surprise Auckland show for flood relief

Slowthai performed a surprise show in Auckland to raise money for the Red Cross.

A music star has raised more than $14,000 for Auckland's flood relief after holding a surprise show last night.

British rap artist Slowthai had been one of the most-anticipated acts to play at Monday's Laneway Festival but show organisers were forced to pull the plug after a month's worth of rain fell across the city in just 24 hours on Friday night, damaging the event site.

As residents shared stories of the hardship they were facing in the wake of the devastation, Slowthai, from Northampton, asked if he could do something to help.

A team scrambled a charity show together, finding sound and lighting crews, the venue and door hosts, all as willing to donate their time as Slowthai, including show-starters Knucks and DJ Fine China.

With tickets sold for $40 a pop, about 300 people attended the show last night at Galatos in Auckland's CBD, raising more than $14,000 for Red Cross from tickets as well as the support of donations from Galatos, artists, backline suppliers and crew.

The show proved the perfect opportunity for day-one fans who were lucky enough to score a rare chance to see their favourite artists play live in a small and intimate venue.

According to one concertgoer, the artists delivered high energy sets that "lifted the roof off the venue".

Slowthai told 1News he felt it was important to do something as a sign of support.

He said: "I can't comprehend what the affected families are going through right now but with this live show it displays what good can come from people and communities pulling together.

"Auckland has always shown me love. Thank you to everyone who donated. During a devastating time for your city, you've done an amazing thing."

Tickets sold out in just 30 minutes after it was announced the British rapper would be performing in an effort to help flood relief efforts.

Dan Woolston from SNIFFERS, one of the event organisers, said Slowthai's team reached out on Monday asking if it would be possible to throw a show together following the announcement that Laneway wouldn't be going ahead.

"We kicked into overdrive with Handsome Touring and Laneway, getting the gig live almost 24 hours later, and in 30 minutes the event sold out," he said.

Before jumping on stage, Slowthai, who pulls in 2.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, visited local bar East St Hall where he was interviewed during a special Q&A for Headline Access about his music career to date.

Joining him were Grammy-nominated band Turnstile and local live music heroes Elizabeth Stokes and Jonathan Pearce from The Beths.

Knucks was also supposed to perform at Laneway but put up his hand to donate his time instead.

Across three segments, the artists answered questions about their time in the industry, the challenges they've overcome and offered up their advice on achieving aspirations of any kind.

The audience — made up of Kiwi musicians and creatives — were able to ask questions at the end of each round.

It comes as "unprecedented" flooding in the past five days is New Zealand's "biggest non-earthquake" insurance event, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said yesterday.

Auckland schools have re-opened today after officials lifted orders for them to shut.

The damage and clean-up at Western Springs is expected to be extensive and prolonged as other parts of the city focus on recovery efforts.

Cross-region travel on State Highway 1 remains disrupted with landslips and diversions in several locations.


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