Hands up who went to Westfest last year? The event was held for the very first time in Auckland at Vector Arena over two nights last year. And it was great. The likes of Rob Zombie, Megadeth and Korn graced us with their presence and the two-night affair was a huge success. Enough so that Olly and his team at ODR Productions are going for round two this year and they have changed it up a bit this time. New venue (Mt Smart) and a one-day festival this time (think Big Day Out only more metal/rock).
With just over a week to go until the festival, I spoke to Olly earlier today to get the inside story of what is involved in being a festival promoter and how this year's event is going to pan out. He was surprisingly calm.
"It's definitely easier this year, less surprises", he said. "Well I don't know if easier is the right word, maybe less of a strain because I know a bit more about everything after planning last year's event."
First up, I wanted to know from him, why the venue change/change to a one-day festival?
"Because the NZ event is after Soundwave this year so logistically one day works better", Olly said. He also is trying to make it a bit more of a festival vibe - last year was more like two big rock shows in a row.
Olly confirmed there will be three stages this time, and it will be more spread out than last year. They're really going for the outdoor vibe where there is more freeflow between stages and no-one is trapped in one place.
However, don't expect exactly the same layout as BDO. The final version will be released "hopefully by tomorrow" he said, "but basically the stadium area will be blocked off and the main stage will be up in front of the fields with the second stage down by where the Super Top used to be and a third stage behind that." "We want everything nice and cozy" were his exact works, like one big gig.
Naturally I wanted to know how big a crowd he is expecting. "It's supposed to be around 20,000" he said "and we're hoping to reach that".
Then we moved on to the timetable - I wondered if he was expecting many clashes, especially with lots of people keen on seeing the two main acts,Soundgarden andFaith No More (or are they just my favourites?). Olly told me they have tried to minimise as many clashes as possible, even going so far as to send out draft timetables for the fans to comment on and give their opinion. They then changed a few things around to fit everyone what seemed to be the best slots. "No-one is playing at exactly the same times, some bands will play longer than others or a band will start half-way through someone else's set so you can at least see half of each band you want to" - which he thinks is a fair compromise. And I agree.
Given that Olly has attended Soundwave previously in Australia, I asked him about AJ Maddah and what contact (if any) he has had with him during the setup of Westfest. Olly said he and his crew are going it alone, he has not really dealt with AJ and the Soundwave team at all, except to arrange the breaking of contracts so the bands can play in NZ. "AJ's a smart man", said Olly, "and he knows what benefits the people. So if it doesn't hinder him, I can't see him doing anything that would hinder us you know?"
True enough - and the bands are already over this side of the world so its great that ODR are willing to bring them just that little bit further for our listening pleasure. Usually fans have to travel to Australia to see a lot of these bands but Westfest has changed all that. Thanks Olly.
"It's actually a lot harder than most fans would think (logistics-wise)", Olly told me. "Fans don't usually realise this, he certainly didn't realise it until it mattered. Originally all he would care about is that he wanted to see a band and why weren't they coming to NZ - but a lot of the time its just impossible for them to get here."
One of the reasons Olly has set up Westfest is obviously to bring this type of music to the NZ audience. But most of all he likes watching the crowd enjoy the bands - that gives him more satisfaction in the long run. I would tend to agree with him - last year at Westfest the crowd were so enthusiastic, it must make the whole thing worth it. "It's a lot about the crowd's reaction and the great vibe on the day, he said. A diverse range of people all in attendance for the same reason - the great music and the atmosphere".
That it is Olly, that it is.
Olly plans to continue bringing Westfest to NZ every year if this year goes without a hitch - he's not making any promises of course but we'll see how we go..
I mentioned that Soundwave appears to be going well so far this year (the first weekend was held in Adelaide and Melbourne this past weekend. Olly hasn't had a chance to check out any of the reviews yet as he is too busy - no surprises there.
Next I asked Olly about the reasoning behind which bands he has picked to be on the list for this year's festival. "Some of it", he says, "is knowing the information before it comes out. Some bands take a lot longer than others to negotiate with. And it is also a matter of mutual contacts and bands you have dealt with previously." Certainly it was, to a degree, seeing the first round of Soundwave announcements to see who is playing there and snagging them for himself. Recommendations also help.
Olly has a main crew of around six or seven working really hard to get everything running smoothly - "we've all got an interest in keeping this thing alive" he said. "There are two of us that are like the collective mastermind of it all and we really knock a lot of ideas about and get the formula that works, but there's definitely also a great team behind us, so I can't take all the credit myself."
Olly's company also brings bands over for smaller gigs to NZ - think Skid Row last year which was a great gig. This helps with contacts for future bigger bands he says as it gets you known in the industry.
Part of Olly's team is his publicist who arranges all the media/interviews/promos for the event. Hopefully we'll get to hear some great interviews this time round with the likes of Faith No More and Judas Priest. Although Olly says the bigger bands tend to have super busy schedules.
We finished up talking about how great it must be for some of these bands to come to NZ and Australia during our summer. This will be the last stop of the festival circuit for a lot of these guys. I suspect the weather plays a large part in why they say yes in the first place. Olly agrees.
Get ready for a great day next week people. With the likes of Faith No More, Judas Priest, Lamb of God, Fall Out Boy and of course, Soundgarden, there surely will be something for all rock fans' tastes. Here's to a great day and to many more. Although last year will, for me, be hard to top. See you all there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.