The granddaughter of Leigh Sawmill Café founder Grattan Guinness will host a ‘New Era’ Fundraiser Party on Saturday, April 6, to mark the transition of the café into new ownership, and at the same time raise money for a documentary film about the iconic music venue.
Saffron Guinness has lined up a series of DJs, producers and MCs for the party, including International Observer, MC Bjorn, Haz Beats & Lucky Lance, Sunshine Sound System & P Digsss, Dylan C, Stinky Jim, Cian, Dubhead, Wendy Douglas, Zane T, Anya Vitali and Mr. Big Stuff.
The party will also feature art installations and “interactive theatrical acts”.
Saffron says the invited artists are long-standing friends of the Sawmill who are donating their time because of their love for the venue.
“It’s certainly been a cultural hub. People from all around the world have come in, joined our family and become part of the Sawmill community,” she says.
“Now that it has passed into new ownership, I’m recognising just what the Sawmill has done for Leigh and the wider community.”
The café was voted best small venue by artists for several years in a row.
Saffron is raising money for a film, Sawblade, to celebrate the Café’s contribution to New Zealand music culture and to honour Grattan Guinness.
She says the film will feature charismatic figures from throughout the Sawmill’s history – from the glory days of exquisite food, beverages, music and partying, to the tragic death of Grattan, who drowned at Goat Island last year.
Archival footage will be interspersed with interviews with characters and performers who have been involved with the Sawmill since its inception to the present day.
The New Era Fundraiser Party will also be filmed and form part of the footage for the documentary.
Saffron anticipates releasing a short film of about 20 minutes by December for screening locally and at various international film festivals.
She hopes the short film can then be used as a springboard to raise money for a longer documentary to tell the Sawmill Café story in even more depth.
Saffron says she is so grateful for the upbringing she had at the Sawmill and the artists she has got to meet over the years. Her many favourites have included Fat Freddy’s Drop, Trinity Roots and Fly My Pretties.
While working at the restaurant, she says her favourite job was to go into her grandfather’s vege patch and pick the herbs needed for that night’s dishes.
“Just to get a breath of fresh air and dwell in the garden for a bit was always the best part,” she says.
The Guinness family sold the Sawmill Café in November to restaurateur Craig Andersen, who also owns Cotto restaurant in Karangahape Road.
The Leigh Sawmill Café ‘New Era’ Party and Sawblade documentary fundraiser starts at 3pm and continues until 1am. Children are free and welcome until 8pm. Tickets are available from undertheradar.co.nz.