Rhythm and Vines

Partying among the vines is obligatory at Rhythm and Vines

Words: Tom Goldson
Photo above: Paul Hoelen

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: Rhythm and Vines

Partying among the vines is obligatory at this end of-the-year three-day knees-up. Gisborne’s festival has been a main topic of festival conversation since it first welcomed in the New Year in 2003. This is mainly due to its sprawling roster of bands, DJs and producers, and the large number of fans who road trip their way to the Waiohika Estate vineyard every year – record attendance is 25,000.

“We don’t solely focus on genre-based stages, but programme all of them to flow with synergy”
Alex Turnbull

In 2015, the bill will be spearheaded by Zane Lowe, Danny Brown, Jagwar Ma and Action Bronson, backed by local and The Red Bulletin favourites Young Tapz, Team Dynamite, Third3ye and Kamandi. With EDM, hip-hop, rock and pop all on offer, the Rhythm and Vines team are left with the question of how best to fill the five stages laid out across the vineyard each year. 

“We don’t solely focus on genre-based stages, but programme all of them to flow with synergy,” says Alex Turnbull, R&V’s general manager. “The day could start off with an acoustic or downbeat or electronic act and flow through other genres. That way, each stage begins to take on a life of its own. “That part of the job is always a fun ball to juggle,” he adds. “The main goal for me is to book acts that our core demographic wants and has asked for, but also take an educated gamble with acts that I think are about to break.”

When: December 29-31, 2014.

Where: Gisborne’s Waiohika Estate vineyard. 

Sounds: Perfect soundtrack to a stadium-sized New Year’s Eve celebration. 

Headliners: Bastille, Zane Lowe, Netsky Live, Danny Brown, Chet Faker, Jagwar Ma, Action Bronson, Mr Carmack, Third3ye, Kamandi, PNC and a heap more.

Sideshows: Flush with food and beverage sellers for three days.

Why you should go: With Big Day Out on leave and Coromandel Gold and La De Da putting their feet up over the break, this is now NZs biggest festival and NYE party. A killer location and line-up ensure R&V is set to stay.

Read more
01 2015 The Red Bulletin

Next story