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.
One of our writers sat down with Amy Mansfield, writer of I Didn’t Invite You Hear To Lecture Me, ahead of the Basement shows. Most students throw out their study notes, but not Amy. She has kept hold of them for the past 20 years--vertibiam quotes from her lectures that are too good to ever get rid of. The play was shown throughout the Auckland Fringe Week 2018, and even in some personal living rooms, the vibe is very independent and witty.
It was a cold bleary eyed Saturday night as the clock struck midnight, and counted towards 1am… the time set forth to conjure Richard Shaw, guitarist for legendary UK black metal act Cradle of Filth. We talked ahead of their sold out, first ever performance here in New Zealand.
NZ is about to get OBESSED, with the newest in kiwi music. Local Tauranga sweetheart, Amelia McNabb comes to us fiercely, independently, and with more fire in her lungs than I've heard from any kiwi artist in while. THIS is what we’ve been waiting for.
Elgusto, one part of the innovative electronic/dance music duo, Hermitude, sat down with one of our interviewers this past week; chatting about their loaded schedule, the bands ethos, how they communicate an instrumental show, and their creative collaborations.
Catching up with friends who are musicians at their gigs is always an odd, awkward, rushed affair between sets, pack-down, or a series of inaudible shouts as another band plays. So with the release of the new Seas of Conflict single Monachopsis, I thought it was time I simply scheduled time for a chat, not only once but twice--due to technical issues--with guitarist Declan Storrie.
I recently ventured back to my old festival haunting grounds - or at least the successor thereof. It was a hot Sunday afternoon and after juggling band members between their Festival One main stage duties and their prior commitments off-site, I managed to sit down with the guys and gal from Amanaki - one of the few hardcore-metal acts to perform at the mostly radio-friendly festival.
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.
Featuring Future of the Left members Andrew “Falco” Falkous and Jack Egglestone, with the addition of Damien Sayell from the St Pierre Snake Invasion, the Cardiff outfit will be playing venues in Wellington and Auckland this January.
Andrew Fagan returns with a satirical take on today’s social media preoccupied society. Being an amateur social anthropologist, it is a topic close to his heart. Listen to new track On Channel Me below, off Fagan’s forthcoming solo album Act Normal, due for release in October on Southbound.
Brisbane’s own indie rock royalty, The Grates, have been invited along for the ride, and will treat their hometown crowd to classics from their extensive and impressive catalogue of tunes including 19-20-20 and Turn Me On.
Pixies, one of the most influential alternative rock bands of all time, have announced a second show for Brisbane fans due to overwhelming demand. Following on from Melbourne’s second show announced on Friday (on sale 12pm today!), Brisbane fans have been just as eager to see catch the influential music pioneers, selling out the Fortitude Music Hall date on March 13. A second show has been added at the same venue on Thursday March 12 as part of their mammoth world tour, Come On Pilgrim… It’s Surfer Rosa.
The Ugly Kings, featuring Devil Electric guitarist, Christos Athanasias, are four powerhouse blues rockers drawing influence from an eclectic and dynamic musical background. They offer a powerful injection of energy and emotion to the modern rock scene, formulating what can only be described as power blues. They have released a new music video for Black Widow, featuring an award winning burlesque dancer Ferri Maya. Plus announced a live show this weekend!
Fame and fortune on the Kiwi music scene are a step closer for the top 10 acts just announced in Smokefreerockquest, New Zealand’s biggest live, nationwide all original music event for high school students.
Pluto’s nascent trajectory has covered the spectrum of the New Zealand musical stratosphere, bursting brightly onto the scene in 2001 just to have their star seemingly burn out just as abruptly in 2009. It would have been a suitably intriguing end to befall one of the finest, most exciting and alluring bands New Zealand has ever produced.
Exhilarating and high energy New Zealand rock band, Written By Wolves, have just released their killer new track, Tell Me What You’re Running From? This is the first single from the band’s upcoming new album, set for release later this year.
Australia’s foremost authority on progressive rock, Caligula’s Horse, are just weeks away from kicking off their Let It Grow tour which will celebrate their cult classic The Tide, The Thief & River's End and breakout progressive masterpiece Bloom by playing them back to back!
Within the four walls of The Fortitude Music Hall, lies The Outpost. Brisbane’s newest 300 capacity multipurpose venue that will feature a diverse program of artists, an impressive drinks menu featuring a cocktail list curated by the talented team at Proof & Company.
After spending the past year pulverizing the world with their stupefying live performances, Tropical Fuck Storm return home to tour their new album Braindrops and put the Antipodean public to the sword! Braindrops, the follow up to 2018's epic odyssey, A Laughing Death In Meatspace, will be released on Flightless Records in August
It’s been 20 years since The Flaming Lips released the one-of-a-kind aural hallucination that is The Soft Bulletin. To celebrate the anniversary of its release, The Flaming Lips will play a special show at Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall.
15-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Alicia Keys makes her musical return with the powerful track and visuals for “Show Me Love,” featuring Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and producer, Miguel via RCA Records.
Backstreet’s back, alright! Get your group together, because the biggest selling Boy Band of all time (100 million albums), the BACKSTREET BOYS are heading back to New Zealand in 2020 for a show at Auckland’s Spark Arena on Saturday, May 16.
Platinum-certified independent singer, songwriter, producer, and pop visionary Lauv has released new single 'fuck, I'm lonely' with Anne-Marie today. The track will be featured on Lauv’s forthcoming debut album titled ~how i'm feeling
Frontier Touring and Roundhouse Entertainment are excited to announce that Norwegian pop icons a-ha are returning to Australia for the first time in 34 years, before heading to New Zealand for the very first time! They’ll be joined by very special guest Rick Astley at all February & March 2020 shows, taking in Sydney, Melbourne, and Christchurch, as well as a day on the green events in Australia and New Zealand.
Hitting a massive nine centres on his regional tour this September, Stan will take the stage to perform songs from his impressive catalogue plus his brand new pop smash single Give (co-written by Matiu Walters of SIX60) for his beloved fans. The Springboard tour will also boast three of NZ’s most up-and-coming new artists – Lepani, Niko Walters and Jordan Gavet.
TEG DAINTY and THE MISSION ESTATE WINERY CONCERT announced today that global superstar Michael Bublé will return in February 2020! Accompanied by a 36-piece orchestra and ready to to thrill his New Zealand fans for one night only; this will be Michael Bublé’s only show in New Zealand.
Elton John will perform a third and final show at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, to satisfy New Zealand’s insatiable demand. It has also been announced that, due to a scheduling conflict, three of Elton’s sold out New Zealand concerts have been delayed by one week. Rescheduled dates affect the second show at Mission Estate Winery, and the first two Mt Smart Stadium shows in Auckland.
Vocal prodigy RUEL is returning to New Zealand for one show in Auckland at the Bruce Mason Centre in May. Counting Elton John and Khalid among his fans, RUEL is taking the globe by storm, smashing show records, and he’s only 16 years old.
Exactly six years to the day since the release of Vance Joy’s debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing, Liberation Records are pleased to reveal an extremely limited run of the EP have been pressed on vinyl for the first time ever for release on Friday 26 April. Vance Joy has also announced he will bring his Ukuleles For Kids program to Australia in a new partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia. Launched in the USA last year the program delivers ukuleles and how-to video tutorials lead by Vance Joy to children’s hospitals.
LA two-piece Moby Rich have announced two headline shows on their debut Australian tour this May. With their latest single Blink bringing further attention to the duo, this Australian tour is the perfect opportunity to catch two indie stars on the rise. Support on the tour comes from yergurl in Melbourne, whose lo-fi beats and unique pop style made her a Triple J Unearthed favourite. Sydney support will be from Hoodlem, a streaming sensation with her mix of experimental soul and future R&B.
Darren Middleton (POWDERFINGER), Mark Wilson (JET), Davey Lane (YOU AM I) and Kram (SPIDERBAIT) have joined forces to become ARC, one of the most collectively celebrated and successful supergroups in Australia’s rock history will be performing Abbey Road live, commemorating 50 years of existence.
Abbey Road, The Beatles' swansong and their crowning achievement as a recording group - is a stately, majestic, playful yet fiercely rocking masterpiece of pop music, regarded as one of the greatest records of all time.
TEG Dainty and Nice Events are excited to announce that Emmy-nominated television personality, podcaster and hairstylist to the stars, Jonathan Van Ness, will bring his Road to Beijing world tour to New Zealand
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.