Live Nation expands presence in NZ with addition of Rhythm & Vines

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Live Nation Entertainment has announced that is has taken a controlling interest in New Zealand’s Rhythm and Vines Festival, expanding its presence and festival count in the region.

Held annually, Rhythm and Vines is one of New Zealand’s biggest music and camping festivals and the country’s most iconic New Year’s event. Given their time zone, New Zealanders are among the first to ring in the new year, and Rhythm and Vines embraces its distinction of being the first festival in the world to welcome the New Year’s sunrise. Founded in 2003, the three-day festival is set among wineries in the coastal town of Gisborne and is the ‘must attend’ event of the New Zealand summer for music fans from around the world.

Rhythm and Vines has played host to a number of big headliners over the years including Public Enemy, Moby, LCD Soundsystem, Wiz Khalifa, Bastille and Chance the Rapper, and last year’s line-up boasted big names such as Schoolboy Q, Mura Masa, 2manydjs, A-Trak, Baauer and Giggs.

“Over the course of 15 years, Rhythm and Vines has curated a wonderful line up of both domestic and international talent in one of the most beautiful parts of our country. It has become a household name in New Zealand and we’re excited to be adding the festival to the Live Nation portfolio and welcoming its experienced team to the company,” said Live Nation New Zealand Chairman, Stuart Clumpas.

“By joining forces with the global leaders in entertainment, Live Nation, we can ensure our long term vision for the event and continue to grow the festival. This partnership will allow us to attract the very best acts, delivering a unique festival experience in New Zealand,” said Kieran Spillane, CEO of Rhythm and Vines Festival.

Hamish Pinkham, co-founder of Rhythm and Vines added: “From humble beginnings, Rhythm and Vines has always tried to do justice to being the first celebration in the world to bring in the new year. Over 15 years we have grown the event to become a world-class three day festival.  This partnership will ensure this legacy continues and I'm excited for the future of the festival with our partners at Live Nation.”

With its investment in Rhythm and Vines Festival, Live Nation is further strengthening its position in the New Zealand market, following the majority acquisition of Auckland’s 12,000 capacity Spark Arena (formerly Vector Arena) in 2016. In 2015, Live Nation partner C3 Presents also expanded its marquee festival Austin City Limits to New Zealand with Auckland City Limits.

Clumpas adds: “Live Nation’s involvement further highlights the growing maturity and health of the New Zealand live entertainment market. There has been the long-held view that we’re an extension of the Australian touring market, when in fact New Zealand delivers unique experiences, and Live Nation, as a global player, recognises and invests in that.”

With more than 100 festivals in its global festival portfolio including some of the world’s finest such as Download, Lollapalooza, Reading & Leeds, Way Out West, Splendour In The Grass and US favourites Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Governors Ball, Live Nation has one of the largest and most diverse platform of festivals in the world.