Jamie Stratton: Good Morning, Zorza!

Jamie Stratton: Good Morning, Zorza!

Zorza is the name of a new indie festival that’ll take place in Christchurch on November 12. A quick google reveals that the name means ‘dawn’ in Polish, something that seems appropriate after a year of Covid-related ‘night’ for gigs and festivals. Taking over venues around St Asaph St, the line up for Zorza is a who’s who of current (predominantly) South Island music. We caught up with RDU 98.5FM‘s programme director and festival curator Jamie Stratton to find out more about the vision for the event. Tickets are available here.

Can you please introduce yourself? 

Kia ora, I’m Jamie Stratton, the festival curator of ZORZA, and production engineer and program director at RDU 98.5FM! I started as a show host on RDU’s resident blues show, The Observatory, in 2008, coming on in a full-time role couple of years ago. Like many others in Ōtautahi, I’m in a bunch of bands; Kool Aid, Violet French and the Horrible and BNP. I’m a lover of so many different artists so it’s hard to pick my favourites, but over the past few years, some of my live performance highlights have come from watching The Dance Asthmatics, First Move, Vincent H.L, Earth Tongue and Hex.

Did you have a theme, or rules you put upon yourself in curating Zorza?

One of our goals for the event was to have a really diverse line up, which has been curated is a way that is not dissimilar to the way we form our playlist on RDU 98.5FM – you never know what you’re going to get! It’s about discovery. Drawing in music lovers who enjoy music from an array of genres and providing them with a tasting board of the incredible range of music we have produced locally in Aotearoa. Exploring something new that you might not have experienced before. We wanted to introduce people to new music and venues that they might not have been to before. And to celebrate some of the amazing local music we have on offer after what’s been such a bizarre year in the music world!

What were the criteria you were looking for in a band to book? 

I think the main thing we were looking for when curating this line up was that we wanted to have acts that we know will put on an awesome show for the event attendees. We have booked a set of musicians that we know are going to deliver an engaging and interesting performance for everyone who’s come down to party.

Any part of the programming you are particularly proud of?

I’m proud of the lineup as a whole, 15 talented up and coming acts, spanning a huge array of genres. This was one of the main ideas behind the festival, it was never about one headliner or any act in particular, but the strength of the line up as a whole.

Is there one band that people might not know well yet, but they simply have to see because they’re so awesome?

Internet Death. That’s all I’m gonna say…

Who are you personally looking forward to most?

The bands from out of town! It’s been such a weird year for both artists and event attendees. Covid has been a huge roadblock for musicians and their worlds have been turned upside down with the lack of opportunities to play live and tour. For many of the Zorza acts, this is one of their first shows back. I’m also looking forward to seeing more artists touring through Christchurch in the next few months as we haven’t had much of that in 2020!

How do you prefer bands to submit expressions of interest for events?

Flick us an email to, easy as that! Additionally, we are always on the hunt for new music to add to our playlist on RDU and you can visit our website to find out more information about how to submit music!

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