The Riverslea Retreat weekend, October 22-25, is cancelled, but The Joan Prior Young Performers Showcase, Thursday October 28, is GOING AHEAD.

Sadly, Riverslea has fallen victim, for the second time, to Covid restrictions. The Government decision to keep us at Level 2 means it would be impossible to comply with the distancing and other restrictions at this site.

However, with the proper precautions, we will be able to run our Young Performers Concert under Level 2 conditions at our regular venue, Roseneath School Hall.

Here are the details:
THE 2021 JOAN PRIOR AWARD CONCERT – 7.30pm, Thursday October 28 – featuring Peyton Morete, Sayaka Kirkman, Zephyr Wills, Maeve Hughes and Danica Bryant.

This will be an inspiring evening with five gifted young singers, musicians and songwriters.

But we will need to follow these conditions:-

Under current Level 2 restrictions, we have to observe social distancing requirements by carefully arranging the seating, and restricting the numbers who can attend, so you will need to book. 

Please think carefully about attending the concert if you are not vaccinated, so we can make the gathering as safe as possible for everyone.

The audience will need to wear masks and everyone must scan or sign in at the door. We will not be able to provide the usual tea, coffee and biscuits at the break, but you can bring your own refreshments.

To protect the performers, vocal mics will be covered and the covers changed between acts. We will also have hand sanitizer available for everyone attending.

ENTRY: $15 ($10 for Acoustic Routes members). Pay at the door, cash only (no Eftpos available).

BOOKINGS:  Contact Ruth Birnie 027 451-5486;


Acoustic Routes has some bad news and some glad news to tell you about.

The bad news first:


This concert, featuring Julie Bevan and Friends, Otherwise Brilliant (Emily Griffiths and Jonathan  Berkahn) and Ratproof was scheduled for Thursday, September 23. We are very upset that we have had to cancel it again, because of the continuing uncertainty about Covid alert levels. Currently we are at Level Two plus, and we can’t run concerts until we are back at Level One. This was our second attempt to bring you this exciting show, but we haven’t given up and who knows – maybe third time lucky?


Now for the GLAD news:

THE RESURRECTED  RIVERSLEA  RETREAT- Labour weekend, Friday 0ctober 22 to Monday October 25, Riverslea, Otaki Gorge Rd.

The annual Riverslea weekend is usually held in August, but the lockdown scuppered that. However, with the cancellation of Wellington Folk Festival at Labour Weekend, Acoustic Routes is offering this as a relaxing alternative, dependent of course on being back at Level One.

The gathering will start late on Friday afternoon and finish after lunch on Monday. There will be soup and bread on Friday night and shared meals on Saturday and Sunday nights. Tea, coffee and milo are provided.

Riverslea can accommodate up to 37 people in bunk rooms, and a couple of camper vans by prior arrangement. Pillow, pillowcase and bottom sheet are provided on the bunks.

Charges: $55 per night per bunk and $25 for day visitors. To book, contact Ruth Birnie


The cancellation Wellyfest has also impacted our new-look Joan Prior Award, which this year offered successful entrants a weekend pass to the festival and a place in the Young Performers concert at Wellyfest.

It is very disappointing that we can’t do that for our entrants this year. However, we are exploring other ways of acknowledging the highly talented young singers and musicians who have entered the award and hopefully, giving them the opportunity to perform for us.

Kia haumaru te noho (stay safe), kia atawhai (be kind) – The Acoustic Routes whanau.

September Concert

Provided we are at COVID Level 1 restrictions, we will be running the monthly concert on Thursday 23rd of September at 7:30pm in the Roseneath School Hall.

Entry: $15 for AR Members and all performers and $20 for others. Cash only (no eftpos facilities).

The concert will feature:

Julie Bevan and Friends

‘Kaleidoscope’ is the latest album by NZ composer/musician Julie Bevan, who has a long-standing connection with Brazil. This is eclectic album draws on her diverse musical influences and styles, including flamenco, jazz, kiwi and Brazilian music.

For this performance she is joined by Nick van Dijk and Aaron Stewart on acoustic bass, who recorded with her on ‘Kaleidoscope’.

Nick plays diverse musical styles but is best known in jazz. A composer, musician and teacher, he has performed with Black Seeds, Rhombus, Olivia Newton John, and the Wellington Jazz Orchestra, as well as contributing to many albums. Aaron Stewart is the long-time bass player of alt-country artist Mel Parsons and with T-Bone Trio, a mathematically challenged quartet performing bluegrass and country classics. He has performed in a variety of international and local festivals and contributed to many albums.

‘Kaleidoscope’ can be bought directly from Julie

Otherwise Brilliant

Jonathan and Emily are concentrated essence of VicFolk, an exemplary model of the transmission of musical traditions from one generation to another. They are both gifted performers, tunesmiths, and teachers, and what they achieve together is more than the sum of the parts. They have a demonstrated willingness to muck in and are seriously committed to making sure that everyone has a good time.


Ratproof are a group of twenty-somethings who grew up surrounded by folk music, started jamming at Wellyfest, and have been playing together ever since. They play acoustic folk/Americana, influenced by the likes of Gillian Welch and the Be Good Tanyas, experimenting with harmonies and fiddle, flute and banjo instrumentals.