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Underwater pandemonium at Caribbean pool parties

10 January 2003

Christchurch band Pandemonium will treat families to the rare sound of underwater music at next week's Just Juice Caribbean Pool Parties at Halswell, Waltham and Sockburn Pools.

The Christchurch City Council Summertimes Festival event is to feature several of the band’s percussionists,donning snorkels and wetsuits to play underwater, while musicians outside the pool will perform on genuine West Indian Steel Pans - the only set in the country.

"We are planning on creating a kitchen department for our underwater musicians" says Pandemonium leader Brett Painter. "They will be playing pots, pans, a kitchen sink....along with gongs, tubular bells and our water phone. It is so much fun and such a unique concept. Underwater sound is amazingly clear but we have to swap our drumsticks for carpenter’s hammers to get enough momentum to make any sound. For younger children, underwater music provides an extra incentive to get into the water and get their ears wet."

To broadcast the sound in and out of the pools, Pandemonium will use a customised sound system operated by Anthony Lealand, who is taking a break from his day job, designing firework shows.

While underwater concerts have been performed in the Mediterranean and off the Florida Keys, Brett says that the swimming pool is an under-utilised concert venue. Underwater sound systems are popular in pools overseas for communicating with swimmers. But it wasn't until local producer Steve Thomas brought the concept back from a Brisbane music festival in 1992 that New Zealand's first underwater concerts were presented in the QEII dive pool.

Next weekend's events will include funky Caribbean music, reggae and other Pandemonium favourites "encouraging everyone to dance, swim or sit back and listen to the music."

Sponsor Just Juice will be offering giveaways to quench the thirst of partygoers.

The concerts will be held from 2pm to 4pm at Halswell Pool on Friday 17 January; Waltham Pool on Saturday 18 January; and Sockburn Pool on Sunday 19 January. Admission to the events will be by pool entry.

Media Contacts

  • Brett Painter, Pandemonium leader, Ph 337 3689 or 025 264 6018. Information on Pandemonium can be found at
  • Stella Castelow, Christchurch City Council Facilities Marketing Co-ordinator, Ph 941 8884.

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