Fears for safety of Jewish band at city concert
A WELLINGTON Jewish folk band performing at the Botanical Gardens last night was offered extra security by Wellington City Council.
It feared the band, Klezmer Rebs, might attract protests spurred by the Middle East crisis.
But band members rejected the offer for fear it would attract bad publicity, says lead vocalist Dave Moskovitz.
“I thought the risk of protests was pretty low,” said Mr Moskovitz.
The council provided the band with two security guards in line with usual practice, but added an extra offer – turned down by the band – of being accompanied to and from the stage.
In fact, the concert at the Sound Shell in gardens attracted no protests, and a large crowd danced enthusiastically to the music by the group.
Mr Moskovitz said the venue was packed, with a lot of people the band had never seen before, and everyone had a great time.
“We did see cops wondering around the place, but that is standard at any public event.”
Council spokesperson Barbara Bourke confirmed that because of what had been going on around the city (over events in Gaza) the council thought it was better to be safe than sorry.
Council events co-ordinator Rita Francis said the council provided extra security on some nights: “There was a risk we had indentified.”
Klezmer Rebs performed a 90-minute set of traditional Jewish music from Eastern Europe, as well as additional world music.
The set launched the band’s first studio CD, which has been two years in the making, with the lead trombone player throwing free CDs into the audience.