Review: Splore 2018

Photos by Serena Stephenson

Photos by Serena Stephenson

By Eve Cheesmur & Daryl Habraken

Date / Venue: February 23 - 25, 2018: Deerys Rd, Orere Point


As summer comes to its end, there’s always one moment of solace that gives many of us the ability to squeeze every last ounce of sun and fun out of the air... Splore.

The festival of music, art and culture that gives all of us a chance to leave the world behind for one last summer fling. Splore somehow brings all walks of life together under one sky to enjoy the equalising effects of music, expression and creativity in one of the most stunning locations of any festival in the world.

Teenagers and families, hippies and capitalists all seem to make ends meet in a uniquely self governing atmosphere… Ah if only the real world could be this way!

Arriving on the Friday can be hectic, as thousands of festival goers descend on Tapapakanga Regional Park for three days of escape. However, finding the perfect spot to pitch ones tent and studying the surroundings of the venue for an hour or two is as complicated as the weekend gets, from here on in its what you make of it as judgement goes out the door and is replaced with costumes, dancing, music and other forms of inhibition relaxing treats for all to enjoy.

We were first greeted with a sprinkle of rain showers, there was concern that this was a sign of things to come, could this be another wash out like last year? Far from it. Once the clouds had dispersed by early Friday evening they never really returned for the entirety of the weekend. A dream scenario to be sure with the only struggle being where to find shade from the beastly NZ sun. With conditions near perfect we made our way down for the first night of entertainment.

Friday night had an eclectic range of performances from New Zealand and abroad. King Kapisi took the DJ stage by storm with his almost cult like following of local generation “Y” fans mixing his DJ set and live vocals had the audience in strong voice.

The main stage hit us with Too Many Zooz, a band that have their roots planted in the busking world, blending Jazz, Funk and Afro Cudan rhythms with house to bring a very unique sound from the subways of New York.

The headline of the night was without a doubt Dizzee Rascal, the boy from East London had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he rapped and bounced his way around the stage with the energy of a bunny on RedBull, even if you weren’t familiar with his resume, you couldn’t help but be entertained, his encore track was of course Bonkers which had the audience going precisely that.


After a ‘no sleep til bedtime’ regime from Friday night, into the wee hours of Saturday morning, we rubbed the tired and dust from our eyes to embrace day two of Splore.

Wandering to the Fox’s Den area with coffee in-tow, the food choices were abundant; burgers, wraps, cheese toasties, sushi, crumpets, acai bowls…straight up Splore Saturday smorgasbord sorted.

After sating our hunger and brushing our teeth, it was time for some workshops. We bumbled around a yoga session in the heat, and sweated out some of our bad behaviour from the night before. On to a crafternoon of making dream catchers, just so we could trap all the beautiful moments to be had in the weekend at Tapapakangapark.

On to the prep and loading for night two – set to be bigger, stronger, faster and better than the night before. Glitter, laughter, impromptu costumes, and high fives were thrown around and caught by every single human on the grounds.

Down the goat track to the magical land of Splore! The costumes this year were mind blowing, and the smiles were as large as any year before.

Stargasms exploded from the crowd, while we watching Empress Stah perform with her laser butt plug in The Temple of The Midnight Mantra. She’s toured with Dita Von Tesse and Cirque De Solei, and put on a jaw dropping show for us Splorers this year too. Along with Boylesque shows, and some chair toppling acrobatics I left the Cabaret segment feeling mildly annoyed that I only use 0.0000008% of my physical potential.

Over to Dylan C at the Crystal Palace, we danced to some home tunes, including a new favourite by Orphan vs Resin One… a duo to be on the look out for in the NZ D&B scene.

The night then relaxed and drifted like the tides in the bay and we washed around the playground of Splore. Checking out the Art Walk, climbing up hills and playing like kids again, we made new friends and reconnected with old.

Finishing off the festivities with a boogie up ‘Shinnanigans Lane’ to the Lucky Star stage, things got weird in a good way, creating new dance moves and bopping along till we heard birds chime in to the chorus of tracks.

With weary legs, we did the final walk up the goat track, back to site, and fell fast asleep with smiles on our faces and excitement for the final day of Splore 2018.


The sun rises and normally this is a grand sign, but on Splore Sunday it creates microwaves of our tents and caravans, forcing us to emerge from our heated tombs to go in search of quenching water and life giving coffee.

Despite the lack of sleep and mild pressure behind the eyes it is very difficult to feel sorry for ones-self. The past two nights have been ones to remember and we have been spoilt by the entertainment on offer and the overall atmosphere created by the crew we have formed; friends old and new….our Splore family.

To make the most of Splore Sunday we do it slow, take a moment to have a swim and find a tree. There, like a pride of lions, we laze away the hours of the day watching over the domain that we have briefly come to call home.

The music is more subdued, a slower BPM fills the valley and as we drift in and out of consciousness. Dubhead, Acetones and Chromixx fill our ears with sound and we watch the punters gingerly swim, dance, Yoga and eventually prepare for the pack up and journey ahead.

By the time Barry Ashworth hits main stage we are on our way to do just that.

Thank you Splore for once again giving us a utopian weekend to remember, you have been and always will be in our mind the most ultimate festival on earth.