Ever since the The Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival in 1973 changed the face of the music scene in New Zealand forever, music festivals and major dance parties have played a large role in the country’s musical culture. In 1979, 60,000 people attended Nambassa, making it the largest turnout per capita for a music festival in the world.
Today, bands, dance groups and thousands of fans attend numerous annual events, setting up makeshift camp grounds on farms, vineyards and sports stadiums around the country.
Rhythm and Vines at Waiohika Estate vineyard, several kilometres from Gisbourne, has shot to success. From its humble beginnings with 1,800 attendees in 2003 to sellout shows of over 30,000 in 2011, the event was started by three university students who wanted to provide a safe, fun, end-of-year party for their friends. R&V is R18, and you must be 20+ to stay onsite. Tickets go on sale online in late May 2012 for the December event.
Parachute is a success story with a difference – the Parachute Festival is a Christian event, and proceeds go in part to charity. Parachute Music has sponsored a village in Rwanda, donating over $265,000 to the area which built five water tanks, three classrooms, a maternity unit and a health centre and sponsored 1,900 children.
Held annually at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton, the festival lasts for four days and three nights. Alcohol and drug free, it is a family friendly safe environment for some serious fun. It is usually held in late January with tickets for the 25 – 27 January 2013 event available later in the year.
Unique to New Zealand, Pasifika gives Pacific Islanders a chance to showcase their performing arts and compete against the country’s best cultural performers. Music, dance, kapa haka and of course the chance to sample foods from over ten cultures are all at this extravaganza in Western Springs, Auckland.
Pasifika celebrated its 20th anniversary in March 2012, and with over 225,000 visitors, is one of the largest events of its type in the world. It receives rave reviews every year.
Rhythm and Alps is a newcomer to the scene, with its debut in Canterbury in December 2011, the ‘little sister’ to Rhythm and Vines is set to become a regular event. Watch the website for ticket sales – the 2011 festival was a sellout so be in early!
As well as the major players in the music fest game, there are numerous smaller, though equally vibrant, festivals and events on around the country. It is worth taking the time to look them up if you are a music lover, or simply want to try something different.
Whatever your taste, there is a rocking music festival for you coming up!