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 Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are gracing our shores on the 28th of November at Galatos. After a 4-year hiatus, they have burst back onto the scene and headed straight for the spot they are most familiar with, number 1 on the Billboard Christian Rock Charts.
Breakups are never easy - whether it's a romantic tryst, a teenage crush, or with a young Mark and his favourite band Dream Theater, that dark moment when founding keyboardist Kevin Moore left the group in 1994.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
Due to incredible demand, internationally renowned award-winning musician, comedian, actor, writer and composer TIM MINCHIN has today announced a third and final Auckland show as part of his Australasian tour of his live show BACK.
Legendary, GRAMMY-award winning band FLEETWOOD MAC today announced an Australian and New Zealand tour, set to kick off on August 9 with two shows in Auckland on September 16 and 19, along with a welcome return to Dunedin on September 21.
California’s radical sons, The Growlers arrive in the country this week for the start of the Australian leg of their mammoth worldwide ‘Beach Goth’ tour. In what is guaranteed to be a rollicking, majestic wave of movements all around our golden coast,
Timaru’s iconic Soundshell in Caroline Bay will host two of the most well-known bands in New Zealand in a one-day entertainment extravaganza this January. Katchafire and The Black Seeds will headline the R18+ event at the Soundshell on Saturday, January 26, 2019. They’ll be joined by The Butlers.
In true kiwi summer tour tradition Marlon Williams will now take The Tūrangawaewae Tour to a further six markets this February making it a total of 12 shows - Marlon’s most comprehensive New Zealand tour ever!
With sounds primed for a hot summer ahead, Christchurch four piece Mako Road have arrived with the perfect soundtrack for long nights, cold drinks and hazy days with the ‘Local Safari’ EP, which releases today.
“Music can bring us all together, it bonds us, it strengthens us...” this song “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has been dedicated to Toyah Cordingley.
Please spread the word to anyone who loves the song, or has lost someone too early also, feel free to leave any dedications in the comments of which we will share direct for Toyahs’ family and the band to see.
On the heels of releasing several collaborative hit tracks this year, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson returns with a brand new single of his own ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ featuring Miley Cyrus.
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.