One music-packed day on the waterfront at Homegrown

Words: Tom Goldson
Photo above: Aaron Moffit 

A new wave of festivals is turning up the volume on the New Zealand music scene. But just what does it take to thrill the crowds in the packed summer season? The Red Bulletin takes a look at four festivals you should definitely have in your calender. 

With 45 years of history and 32 festivals under its belt, there’s no disputing the status of Glastonbury on the global festival calendar. Each time English dairy farmer Michael Eavis turns his Somerset fields into a sea of flags, tepees and mud, revellers and outsiders alike clamour to get their hands on tickets.

Top-billing superstars guarantee headlines, but they do not make Glastonbury, or any other festival. Rather, it’s the smaller platforms, on stages and in tents far from the main stage and TV cameras, that create essential pilgrimages for music’s tribes. This is especially true in New Zealand, where expertly assembled line-ups lower down the bill are proving to be the hits. The Red Bulletin went backstage to talk to the organisers pulling the strings.

Next up: Homegrown

One music-packed day on the waterfront at Wellington, where you’ll see the cream of New Zealand talent in action. Another point of discovery in summer’s music landscape is this niche Wellington festival, perched along the waterfront, with talent plucked, as the name suggests, from the local pool.   This Kiwi-centricity is not without its challenges, but director Mark Wright says the well he draws from is a long way from being tapped dry. 

“At the end of the day, it’s about people having an amazing time”
Mark Wright

“In a small country like ours, the source of talent is finite, but last year, half of the bands and DJs on the bill had never played the festival before. I mean, some years some of the genres can get a little skinny, but I’m pleased to say that New Zealand music is in a pretty healthy state right now.”

Just like his counterparts at other festivals, Wright has high-stakes responsibilities. Festivals stand and fall on the calibre of their locations and artists, and there is a constant refining of the blueprints. But for all the micro-calculations required, Wright believes that an on-the-money festival formula is simpler than you think.

“At the end of the day, it’s about people having an amazing time. It has got to be hassle-free, relaxed, great value for money and the bands that are playing have got to be good. It comes down to making every year kick-ass and then being committed to making the next one even better.”

When: March 7, 2015.

Where: Seven genre-specific stages across Wellington, from Waitangi Park to TSB Bank Arena.

Sounds: Over 50 local acts, from rock to hip-hop, electronic music to reggae, indie to metal – and all 100 per cent Kiwi, maaate.

Headliners: Shihad, David Dallas, Blacklistt, P-Money, Sid Diamond, Six60, Shapeshifter, Tahuna Breaks, Devilskin, Tiki Taane, Raiza Biza, Young Tapz and Mzwétwo.

Sideshows: Lower Frank Kitts Park and the Te Papa promenade will host food and retail markets, cafés, amusement rides and interactive activities.

Why you should go: Since 2008, Homegrown has dedicated itself to an all-NZ link-up, bringing our best live acts to Wellington to shake up the waterfront.

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01 2015 The Red Bulletin

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