Microcosm! 13 April 2024

Microcosm! is a new Swingtown Rebels event for 2024, with the idea of taking all the fun from a regular full weekend exchange and squooshing it up into one awesome event “the single most epic blues and swing social New Zealand has ever seen!” Running from noon until midnight (plus after party for those who are still amping), with four live bands playing swing and blues, it’s a chance to expedite that feeling of being totally high on dance – tired, swung-out and totally buzzing with the peak of enthusiasm that usually only arrives to those sticking around until the wee hours of the morning.

Why is it called microcosm you ask? Let’s let the Oxford dictionary tell us:

Allowing for out of town dancers to visit Christchurch and get their usual amount of dancing in but also have some time to see the city, or for locals with family or life commitments to be able to attend the whole event – we think we are on to a winning formula! Sunday morning is the option of a sleep in (so you can stay as late as you like the night before with no morning events to worry about – unless you are keen to join us in chillin’ (hah) at the hot pools). And in a sweet sweet timing coincidence check out a bonus option on Sunday afternoon for people who are keen to learn some lindy hop air steps/aerials, with Flying High happening with visiting Australian teachers Justin and Emma. Click the image below for details (don’t be confused by the photo of some of our previous Rebels – you too can be like Josh and Maud!).

When is Microcosm?

13th April, 12 pm – Midnight (+)
1/2 day options available, 12 pm – 6 pm or 6 pm – midnight
An after party (of course!) for some late night grooves.
See Flying High for Sunday afternoon details.

Where is Microcosm?

Altiora, Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre, Hereford St
A dedicated performing arts space in the original gymnasium within the heritage buildings of the Christchurch Arts Centre in the heart of Christchurch. With space to flow outside, a bar on site, and food trucks in the vicinity, this is the recipe for a good time. Note the floor is on the slicker side, so choose your footwear appropriately.

Music Music Music Music!

The whole point of an event like this is the bands! With four quality bands playing back to back to back to back sets with an extremely danceable mix of swing and blues there is bound to be something for everyone!

Andrew London Duo with guest Fiona Pears

Three of New Zealand’s busiest musicians combine to deliver a repertoire of lively and accessible jazz and swing-era classics that you won’t be able to stop dancing to. From the beginnings of swing in the Dixieland and Great Gatsby decades through to the Big Band and Rat Pack eras, the trio play classic tunes from artists like Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole, Stephane Grappelli and Ella Fitzgerald.

Andrew (guitar) and Kirsten (bass) are joining us from Wellington where they have decades of experience playing, touring and recording albums of swing classics from all over the South Pacific, and some Rebels may remember Andrew’s earlier band “Hot Club Sandwich” who were a highlight of our 2012 PCX event as well as a well-known fixture of NZ jazz music festivals since the early 2000s. Fiona Pears is a local mainland hero who has world class experience playing touring the world as concert master for Hayley Westenra then subsequently playing with many ‘A’ list jazz musicians in Europe and the UK, recording her own original pieces with orchestras in Liverpool and Prague before returning to New Zealand. The swing canon is lovingly rendered with flair and alacrity by these three enthusiastic musicians, glad to be reunited to preach the gospel of swing music as the first band on the program at Microcosm to swing things off!

Muddy Mama’s Blues Band

The Muddy Mama’s are one of the best discoveries Swingtown has made in recent years. A Christchurch band made up of some of the best blues musicians around, and led by the inimitable Judi Smitheran – Mama Judi with her powerful bluesy vocals bringing the magic, with support from the epic keys talent of Mary Rushton, with bass, drums, guitar and harmonica (shout out to Davey Backyard!) in the mix. They wowed us on the dance floor most recently at last year’s PCX Saturday late night, where their mix of grooving blues songs with a lot of swing hit a lot of spots for everyone from blues aficionados to hardcore Lindy Hoppers. A recent bio of theirs said: “You are invited to lose yourself in some wondrous blues and jazz rhythms, the aim is simple: great music, great fun. Join us as the band holds down a smouldering groove behind Judi’s sultry, bluesy voice and passionate stage presence, for this concert designed to showcase talents and the love of song in a sincere spirit of musical expression” and that sounds like just the thing we are all about for our late afternoon slot at Microcosm!

Silverlocks (and the various bears)

A current Swingtown favourite, made up of some of Christchurch’s most skilled jazz musicians – they played what may well be the best night of swing dance music ever heard in Christchurch at last year’s PCX with an absolutely world class gig on the Sunday night. With a few different members subbing in for this gig to join Silverlocks herself Katie Martin on keys, Lou Moverley on drums and Mike Bickers on trumpet they add Mike Kime on double bass, Allan Hawes on clarinet/saxophone and special guest vocalist our own Molly McGee. Come dance with us as they channel the spirit of bands from the original swing era to bring solid four-on-the-floor danceable swing.

Thursday Night Groove Collective

This band is super shiny and new, but we are mega excited to introduce a brand new blues band, formed by someone who knows what dancers need – and, luckily for us, they’ve agreed to go against their name and play on a Saturday night for us to finish off Microcosm with a suitable bang! Here’s what they have to say about themselves:

Thursday Night Groove Collective: the only blues band where the bassist’s socks are so loud, even the notes get jealous. Their keyboardist? He’s got a PhD in Quantum Harmonics, bending strings and space-time with a flick of his wrist. The guitarist owns more guitars than there are excuses to skip practice, each one strumming tales of intergalactic blues. Their drummer’s beats are so earth-shaking, the neighbours keep checking Geonet. The time-traveling hippy singer belts out tunes that make history books dance, while their other vocalist’s voice is so enchanting, the moon has requested a duet. Get ready to laugh, cry, and groove with the cosmic comedy that is Thursday Night Groove Collective.


Please note: Bands will be playing several sets within their time slot (may not be 3 hours solid of playing because while musicians seem pretty super human to the rest of us mere mortals apparently they also need some time to breathe no and again too – so the time slots are a guide not an absolute time!)

Also (excitingly) some of the delicious food trucks that will be on site to help fuel your dancing – should be something for everyone!


Registration will be opening in mid-February – venue requirements mean tickets will be limited, particularly for the late night event so register early so you don’t miss out! With any questions contact us at swingtownrebels@gmail.com

$80 full registration for Microcosm! – includes 12 hours and 4 bands worth of fun!

$5 ticket for the late night – numbers are extra limited, so if you’re keen to come then get your name on the list as soon as regos open!

$50 afternoon pass 12 pm – 6 pm, two bands OR evening pass 6 pm – midnight, two bands

Children and any required non-dancing caregivers are welcome to attend the afternoon session for free.

We also have a couple of Chan Kang Memorial scholarships available for this event – if you or someone you know is super keen but prevented by cost from registering, please get in touch with us at swingtownrebels@gmail.com

Plus: don’t forget to hop over to the He Puna Taimoana website to book a spot in the hotpools for the 10 am Sunday morning session on 14th April if you’re keen to join us soaking some of the sore muscles away the next day! If you register before ticket sales are open for this date (they open about 5 weeks in advance), we will make sure to email you to let you know when you can book!

Double plus: If you’re keen on learning some aerials click here to find out more about Flying High, happening on April 14th in the afternoon.

The small print

The small print is the same size as the rest of the print, but we want to remind everyone that if you are attending a Swingtown Rebels event you agree to abide by our Community Guidelines.

Payment is required at time of registration in order to secure your spot. If you need to withdraw your registration, please get in touch with us at swingtownrebels@gmail.com. Registrations withdrawn prior to 30th March will be refunded in full less a 2.5% transaction fee. If you need to withdraw later than this please get in touch with us, as if you are withdrawing due to injury or illness then you may still be eligible for a full refund (and our sympathy!) but change of plans will incur a penalty fee up to 50% of the registration fee. Registrations can be transferred to someone else at any stage, just let us know.

Big thanks to Jenn Magzhal for the snazzy logo design!