I've been wanting to go to Splore for a good half century now and had very high expectations of popping mySplore cherry for the festival... those expectations were exceeded by an unprecedented extent.
The drive to Tapapakanga Regional Reserve was a mere hour from Auckland central, and I was transported into a vista of green rolling hills and baby blue ocean, it was a breeze to get there and made me realise how lovely Auckland's backyard is. Upon arrival my eyes were greeted with the familiar 'hippie' buntings and flags blowing around. there were people of all shapes, sizes, creed and ages dressed up in colourful and fanciful clothing and everyone wore beaming smiles... the weekend was off to a good start.
Struggle came in the form of transporting my luggage (rookie mistake of bringing too much with me) down to my tenting site, but I was offered a lift to my spot on the back of a ute by a friendly family who thought nothing of the kindness and generosity they had just extended to me. That mentality of kindness and paying it forward was a running trend for the whole weekend, and I, along with every other Splorer embraced it fully.
After finally erecting my abode, I decided to go exploring. The set up was thoroughly thought through, pedestrian paths were etched into the hills and everything was clearly signposted. The food options were endless, if you wanted a flippen quesadilla or a freshly squeezed fruit juice, you had plenty of places to choose from. I make no exaggerating when I say that all the staff were super lovely... because they were ALL super lovely. People wanted to engage with you and in turn, that safe and fun environment stripped everyone of pretension and we all trusted in letting our guards down to experience Splore to its fullest.
The line up for the first night was pretty ace. Veteran Jazz and R&B legend Roy Ayers put on one heck of a show, he woo'd the crowd and had us all grinning with his sweet beats and charm. I stuck to the main stage for the next few acts, DYNAMOTION which was hilarious to watch, and then the trump card for the nightDeltron 3030... it was magic to see the man himself perform new and hold tracks. We danced, oh gosh we danced.
After seeing a bit of Kid Koala on the Main Stage, we mozied down to the Beach House for a more intimate gathering with some dirty, dirty beats being pumped out by J-Star and finishing up a big hot sweaty mess toDr Cat.
But the night didn't end there, oh no, Splore had even more to offer... it's the festival that keeps on giving. At the top of the precarious goat climb track from the beach to the camping venues, there was art littered through the trees, a wander through the art installations was a pleasure on the senses, and general banter with other Splorers for the walk made something that would normally be rather banal, actually thoroughly enjoyable.
At the top of the hill is the art tenting, where we parked up and talked utter shit with strangers while drinking marshmallow tea until the wee hours of the morning before retiring to our tents, tired but ever so happy.
Day two put on a great show with the weather, it was balmy and everyone hit the beach for a swim, music floated around the air and although I'm sure there was plenty of dusty people around, it seemed that a dip in the ocean washed away any sins from the night before.
Again, just wandering around the venue the level of friendliness was outstanding. Complete strangers become your new friends within minutes, there is a tribal community feeling I've never experienced before and goodness me it is good. Whoever picked the staff should never, ever do any other job because they were amazing and picking the nicest, most helpful and also fun festival staff I've ever come across.
Saturday night was a whole heap busier, as new people arrived the vibe also changed a dash. In Splore tradition, this is the night for dress ups, and the energies were higher than the night previous with the dance areas heaving. To list all the amazing music I listened to would be ludicrous, there were far too many tracks that were seamless and an absolute pleasure to watch, however a highlight should be awarded to Weird Together who were fantastic. SJD, Ahoribuzz and The Phoenix Foundation were but a few of the other acts. If listening to bands wasn't really your bag though, there was also the Clown School, Circus skills and unicycle workshops (a handy skill to have), Scavenger hunts for the kids, and of course hula hoop classes.
It was yet another late finish to the night, as hours passed like minutes, we skimming stones on the beach in the moonlight, told terrible cheese jokes in a yurt, sang karaoke out of tune to a non judgmental crowd, swapped costume pieces, and being generally distracted by all the awesomeness.
The beach felt the heave on Sunday when everyone congregated down to wash off the grime from almost having too much fun the previous night. I had assumed that most people would be packing up and leaving quickly, head in hands wondering when and how the heck they could 86 it as fast as possible. However, everyone was in the same boat and even more care was handed out to the fragile souls who had partied through the weekend. Lighters were gifted, towels and stories were shared, high fives and compliments were frequently distributed out, roly-polies down grassy hills, cuddles and general love got people through the day.
The Splore weekend came to an end with the legendary Mr Scruff playing an epic 4 hour set in the blazing sun, as we all danced in the water on the beach, I thought to myself 'this is the best festival I have ever experienced', and I felt sadness wash over me as I realised I would have to leave at some point. The good news is that I only have a year to wait for the next one, and that this is officially locked in as the best annual event a person could wish for.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
One month on from the release of their third album [Wade Waist Deep], American rock band Thomas Wynn & The Believers are back on the road, breaking beyond the southern rock scene with complex, pulsing rhythms and breathtaking harmonies.
After their 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and 2015’s Top 20 follow-up Born Under Saturn, musical adventurers Django Django are back for 2017, exploring new sounds with their brand new album Marble Skies
After stunning, sold-out concerts across the US, legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's greatest legacy - his son Jason - brings his critically acclaimed concert, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, to New Zealand for just two performances.
Playing their breakthrough debut self-titled album in its entirety, pop rock sensations We The Kings will return to New Zealand and Australia to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their breakthrough self-titled debut album.
Instrumentals, imagined soundtracks and cut and paste experimentation sets a bracing, perception-shattering course for Who Built The Moon? - the keenly anticipated, WORLD TOUR-triggering third album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.