Auckland weather put a wee damper on things to start this years Splore, with torrential rain washing away the gravel on the road in the night before the festival started - it slowed down the traffic, but not the revelry.
The trip to Tapapakanga Regional Park took over 2 & 1/2 hours this year as opposed to just over an hour it usually takes. Rather than drivers pulling their hair out, they were pulling blankets out and picnics popped up on the side of the road and the usual strangers-becoming-friends mentality of Splore began. Once inside the gates, set up was a breeze (and the breeze was needed, with the temperature hitting 27 degrees!).
With the tents erected and appropriate footwear donned, and we headed down the a mildly sludgy goat track to see some music and rub shoulders with strange and familiar folk.
First up on the main stage was Melbourne based group Hiatus Kaiyote, and they were bloody brilliant. Lead singer Nai Palm firmly taking centre stage, the Neo Soul tunes pulled us all in and we danced to the undulating percussion of the set. It was a good boogie to start with, and the night had only just begun.
With our warm up dance under our belts, we were set for the next act on the main stage; The Cuban Brothers. They were hilarious and one of the funnest and funniest acts I've seen in a long time. Their self-mockery was endearing, their outfits on point, their dance moves smooth, and their vocals and smiles abundant and wide.
Next up was the legendary electronic Leftfield, who climbed the charts in the 90's to reach iconic status. Talking to various people who attended Splore this year, Leftfield was the drawcard, the pick of the bunch everyone wanted to see, and because I was a fan back in the day, I stuck around to see if they still had it. For me, they didn't, which was a shame, but not a disaster so we walked down the beautiful beach to the Sun Shack to see DJ Sarah Love and catch up with some friends.
We bumped into some crazy sights along the Art Trail, including a drum circle with percussion instruments fashioned from pots, pans and cutlery, into the Living Lounge where we were blown away by The Correspondence. Mr Bruce seemed to have unlimited energy and really drew the crowd in... oh how we danced!
After a long day of packing, driving and dancing, we finished the night off being weird together, dancing to Weird Together. Up the goat track and home to bed, we slept the good sleep and prepped for what was to unfold for day two of Splore 2016.
Waking up in a sauna of a tent is never the best, but the easiest way to drain that excess fluid from your system is by getting out of the tent and getting in water, as soon as possible. That's exactly what we did! Splore always puts on great eats too, so we upped the sustenance for the day and ate like kings on the beach between swims... it was a perfectly relaxing day, and once we'd refuelled on sunshine, food, swims and good company, we headed back up to prep for the big night of dress up and craziness that was Saturday.
We danced with weird hippies to DJ Belleville before heading down the track to bounce between the main stage with Tkay Maidza, then over to the Sun Shack for more mellow beats by Chiccoreli & MC Tali, all the while bumping into friends new and old.
Musical highlights of the night would have to be The Correspondence (again), Leftfield (DJ set), Nightmares on Wax, and The Funk Hunters. All were on form, and knew how to get the crowd involved and dancing.
Other than the music (because we all know Splore isn't just about the music, it's about the experience), highlights included endless piggy back rides by strangers, random acts of kindness, dancing on Pohutukawa trees, and making new friends.
We retired around 6am, but the night for most was still going. Exhausted and elated, I climbed into bed, tutu still intact and slept till the sun rose for yet another gorgeous day on the beach. Sundays conversations we a tad more staccato after not much sleep, but everyone was still feeling the vibes, so dancing in the water was the ticket.
I felt a sense of deep sadness when packing the tent down, and on the drive back to Auckland I found myself already planning for next years adventure down. That is because Splore isn't just a festival, it's a life experience and this year proved to be another magical one.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
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!
Roger Waters is bringing his US + THEM tour to New Zealand this week, performing two shows at Auckland's Spark Arena on Wednesday Jan 24 & Friday Jan 26, before heading to Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Tuesday Jan 30.
Central Otago was on song today, when the annual nationwide Summer Concert Tour kicked off in Queenstown with international music artists Colin Hay of Men At Work fame, Alanis Morissette and The Orchestra starring former members of Electric Light Orchestra performing to a 18,000 strong sell-out crowd at the Gibbston Valley Winery Summer Concert.
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.