Homegrown 2014

By Poppy Tohill

Date / Venue:  Saturday February 15th, Wellington Waterfront, Wellington

With their six year consecutive sell out, Jim Beam Homegrown came back again this year even bigger and better than before! Creating history by expanding the festival to whopping 8 stages and 62 acts, the 15,000 festival go-ers were faced with only one major problem on Saturday. Where to begin and who to see?

The queue's began forming early along Wellington's waterfront on Saturday. Even the sky favoured the festival go-ers who were blessed with an absolutely stunning, hot day and slight refreshing breeze. With artists such as Blacklist, Deceptikonz, Six60, Gin Katchafire and many more, I can confidently say it was definitely the best day of the year for New Zealand music lovers!!

Being my first time at the festival myself, I was very impressed with the layout of the numerous stages, the security and the fact you didn't have to wait for hours in a line to get a drink, food or go to the toilet!

With a few new additions to the festival this year, the ‘Locally Sourced' stage made free to the public included an impressive collection of local talent including artists, Benny Tipene, Eb & Sparrow, Jesse Sheehan and more, proved a very popular spot for the public and paying festival go-ers alike.

Thomas Oliver & Louis Baker who were up first on the Red Bull Lab stage provided a perfect set to help get the day underway. Setting a nice relaxed atmosphere as he was joined on stage by special guests Tiki Taaneand Iva Lamkum.

The day continued with an excellent performance by Ladi6 over on the Jim Beam Dub & Roots stage, where she got people in the dancing groove with hit songs Diamonds, Automatic and Shine On. Seeing her perform a number of times now she sure knows how to put on a good show and is definitely not one to disappoint. Without a doubt an artist I suggest to put on your concert bucket list if you haven't already.

Continuing on the Jim Beam Dub & Roots stage was Katchafire, The Black Seeds, Fat Freddy's Drop and headlining kiwi favourites Six60. The Six60 boys also surprised fans with a secret unannounced performance at the Red Bull Lab late afternoon, which I heard went off with a bang and was an absolute highlight for many.

Beastwars, Cairo Knife Fight, The Adults and Deceptikonz continued rocking the Red Bull Lab late into the night while @Peace, Nesian Mystik, Smashproof and Dane Rumble partied on the Pop/RnB stage.

The TSB Arena which had been transformed into the Jim Beam Rock Stage proved another crowd favourite, packed with festival go-ers for hours on end who enjoyed outstanding performances from Opshop, Gin Wigmore, The Feelers and Blacklist.

Opshop announced this would be their last gig together, putting on a show I'm sure no fan is likely to forget. Concluding their set with popular single ‘One Day' Jason Kerrison ended with an emotional goodbye and thank you to his fans, band members, management team and all who have helped and supported the popular kiwi band over their 12 years together.

Gin Wigmore making her Homegrown debut after not performing in New Zealand for over a year, put on the very best show for her beloved kiwi fans who greeted her with immense cheers and claps, showering her with love to make sure she knows we still love her. Reassuring the crowd that "I haven't actually been sitting on my ass the whole time I've been gone" we were treated to an excellent new song titled ‘Low,' with the most beautiful melody and lyrics which instantly hit you deep in the heart with emotion. If this is what we have to go by for her new album, then (being a HUGE fan myself) I am even more excited than I thought possible!

If choosing who to see throughout the afternoon wasn't hard enough, festival go-ers were also faced with choosing between headliners Blacklist, Dane Rumble, Deceptikonz and Six60 who were spread amongst the different stages to bring the festival to an end. I've got to admit I totally missed all of the closing acts due to being backstage, but I've heard, with no surprise, that Six60 were absolute favourites and did not disappoint their thousands of kiwi fans. As I left the festival on my way home I heard only good things about Blacklist also, so I think it's fair to say that the fans of both bands left extremely happy and satisfied.

Whether you were at Homegrown or one of the other hundreds of events that happened over this weekend (Eminem, Splore, Lantern Festival...) I'm sure you had a fantastic weekend and if you've never been to Homegrown before, I can assure you- it's an absolute must for all music lovers. I for one can't believe I haven't been earlier and am definitely adding it to my annual festival list!