The Wingman Festival was born from the love and loss of our brother Shane ‘Wingman’ Billingham. Shane, tragically passed away at the age of 33 while at Burning Man Festival 19 in Nevada U.S.
Shane had a larger-than-life soul, was easy-going, with a world-famous smile. He loved everything good in this world; most of all music, whanau, and his home - Aotea/Great Barrier.
Music is what Shane lived for, starting as a youngster in his family home alongside his big brother and little sister. Shane advanced musically to be a founding member and kick-arse drummer of Solomon Jamski, creating their very own album. In his mid-twenties he put the drumsticks aside and picked up a djembe drum and started traveling the world, playing at some incredible festivals alongside the likes of Rueben Stone, Grouch, Issac Chambers…….
Shane loved the traveling musician lifestyle but his heart and home was always on Aotea/Great Barrier. He dreamed of bringing music and his worldly experiences to the island in the form of a festival.
In 2020, a year after Shane’s passing the Aotea Wingman Festival Trust was created. Friends and family came together, with the support of the community, to see his dream come alive. The Wingman Festival is a not-for-profit event with money raised going to fund the tamariki’s own music and arts journeys as well as keeping the festival alive.
FOR THE TAMARIKI
One of our primary goals with the Wingman Festival is to raise funds for the local schools on Aotea/Great Barrier. With four small schools based on the island, funding for extra activities is hard to access, with this fund they can apply to further music and arts participation and education.
All money raised from the Wingman Festivals goes into the school's fund or to fund the next event. We take no profit, each and every ticket purchased goes directly into making a bigger and better Wingman and providing a material benefit to the tamariki's music and arts learning here on Aotea.
We think that's pretty cool and we’re sure Shane would too.