NZ Fests Readying For Summer

New Zealand festivals are readying for the southern summer season. 

As one of the first countries to ring in the New Year, events around that date are well attended. The biggest of these, Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne (Dec. 29-31) with attendance capped to 25,000, has Chance The Rapper making his debut, along with Belgian drum and bass producer Netsky making his fifth appearance, Australia’s RUFUS, and major Kiwi hip-hop acts Savage and P Money. Sister festival Rhythm and Alps, in Cardrona Valley, with 10,000, announces its main lineup Sept. 8.

Managing director Alex Turnbull says the festival has the reputation for tickets to begin selling before the bill is announced. The inaugural Wondergarden is to be staged at Auckland’s Silo Park to count 2017 in.

Capped at 2,000, it will be all-ages, with the wide-range genre bill unveiled Sept. 8. The summer festival scene has remained strong despite last summer’s scrapping of Echo and Soulfest with low ticket sales. Australia’s Laneway in February, which draws 10,000 in Auckland, is to drop its bill and announce a new venue shortly. After the success of the inaugural Auckland City Limits with 25,000 attending, promoter Campbell Smith announced it will return to Western Springs on March 11 and is working on the lineup.

Soundsplash, Jan. 20-22 at the picturesque Wainui Reserve coastline, will host major New Zealand acts including Six60, singer-songwriter Maala, producer Pacific Heights, reggae outfit Three Houses Down and rapper Diaz Grimm as part of its 40-strong international bill of hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, electro-pop, EDM and reggae acts. Other strong events including Raggamuffin, Splore, WOMAD and Northern Bass are also set for returns.