An unforgettable party at Splore 

Words: Tom Goldson
Photo above: Jason Burgess 

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: Splore Festival

The theme of this extravaganza is an unforgettable party, with dance music, an arts programme and an eco message. Sheltered in the Tapapakanga coastal park, Splore features a glorious location. But the three-day environmentally focused music and arts event, which now returns to its regional park home, doesn’t rest on its laurels.

“We began as a New Year’s party on the cliff tops of Kariotahi”
John Minty

 Splore 2015 will entice the summer set with the best in roots, dub, hip-hop and dance music, with artists like TrinityRoots and Sharlene Hector, billed alongside alternative activities like yoga, contemporary dance and burlesque.

“We began as a New Year’s party on the cliff tops of Kariotahi before evolving into a fully integrated music and arts event at Waharau Regional Park,” says Splore’s John Minty. “The environment always figured strongly to our crew. “The vision was for an underground party inspired by Goa and Burning Man. We cater to people with both niche and mainstream tastes. The aim is to have punters come away raving about an act they previously had no idea about.”

When: February 20-22, 2015.

Where:  The sublime Tapapakanga Regional Park on the western shores of the Firth of Thames

Sounds: Tasty mash-up of hip-hop, house, soul, funk, dub, reggae, trap and more.

Headliners: TrinityRoots, Lunice, The Correspondents, Rodney P, Jason Eli featuring Basement Jaxx’s Sharlene Hector, and Mr Scruff.

Sideshows: Bars on the beachfront, early morning yoga classes, visual arts displays and family-friendly activities.

Why you should go: The scenery, a winning line-up plus an up-for-it crew of party people. Where else can you take a late afternoon ocean dip spitting distance from the main stage?

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01 2015 The Red Bulletin

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