The building that has for many years been known as Chick’s Hotel in Port Chalmers, near Dunedin, was built in bluestone and brick in 1876 by former Port Chalmers mayor Henry “Harry” Dench, on the site of his Jerusalem Coffee and Chop House and Billiard Saloon, which he opened in 1864.
“There are bath-rooms for Ladies and Gentlemen, supplied with hot and cold, fresh and salt water, boats for the use of the boarders and altogether there are possible few watering-place hotels in the Colonies which afford better accommodation.”
But Dench soon ran into financial trouble and George Chick bought the building in 1879, the place being known as Chick’s Hotel (or Chicks Hotel) ever since. Former UK bicycle courier (and video star for The Smiths) Hector Hazard took over the lease in 2008 and developed the live music venue it has been ever since. Last year the members of Fishrider Records band The Shifting Sands took over the lease from Hector and have upgraded the stage and sound system to create the best small live venue in Dunedin. Supportive live music venues like Chick’s are an important contributor to the health of the local music scene here.
November 2013 marked the 1st anniversary of their reign at Chick’s so a 4 day festival was organised as both a celebration and also a (successful!) fundraiser for a Chick’s Hotel Magic Bus. As Chick’s is 15 minutes drive from Central Dunedin a regular show-night bus service has been running all year using hired vehicles (unsustainable longer term, hence the Magic Bus fundraiser). The recent Astro Children album release show was so popular it required two bus trips. Here’s a video of Males from that show:
The 4 days festival featured about 20 local bands and performers, including David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights. Fishrider Records artists involved were Trick Mammoth, Opposite Sex, The Shifting Sands and The Prophet Hens.
Here’s The Prophet Hens playing ‘All Over The World’ from their debut album ‘Popular People Do Popular People’: