Like fish and chips, Jelly Tips and jandal-induced tan lines, music festivals have become an essential part of the Kiwi summer. Here’s our pick of the top five New Zealand music festivals to take a date to this summer.
- Splore 19-21 February, 2016, Tapapakanga Park, Auckland
Camping at festivals often means paying a fortune to sleep in places no-one could pay you to lie down on at any other time of the year. But Splore might just be the one festival where the location is almost as much of a draw as the music. The three-day festival of music, arts, culture and community is held at Tapapakanga Park, a stunning pohutukawa-fringed coastal park only 70km from central Auckland. This year’s lineup includes UK hip hop sensation Little Simz, Berlin punk cabaret artist Bonaparte and Australia electro-swing DJ Dr Cat, as well as visual arts, poetry and spoken word events. If the date goes well, you might want to consider coming back in a future year to get married — Splore weddings are actually a thing.
- Womad 18-20 March 2016, Brooklands Park, New Plymouth
If you’re dating someone with different musical tastes to you, Womad is the perfect compromise — you can listen to the sweet country sounds of Calexico or Tami Neilson while your date checks out ethio-soul queen Ester Rada, Ukrainian four-piece DakhaBrakha or Afrobeat orchestra Egypt 80. And it’s not all about the music. A festival highlight is likely to be the Taste the World area, where musicians swap their instruments for cooking equipment and demonstrate their favourite national dishes to festival-goers. Make the festival extra-special by going glamping. A two-person round canvas bell tent comes with queen-size mattress, tea light chandeliers, beautiful linen and — most luxuriously of all — exclusive access to flush toilets and hot showers.
- Raggamuffin February 20, 2016, Trusts Arena, Auckland
Bonded over a shared love of reggae? Then get yourselves down to the Trusts Arena in Auckland for Raggamuffin, New Zealand’s largest reggae and urban music festival. With acts including Eddy Grant (Electric Avenue, Gimme Hope Jo’Anna), CeeLo Green, Maxi Priest, The Game and Spawnbreezie, it’s likely to be an outstanding year for Raggamuffin. The festival’s date has been moved from December to February, to create a more summery vibe.
- Electric Avenue Music Festival 6 February, 2016, Hagley Park North, Christchurch
Whatever kind of music you and your date are into, you’ll find it at Electric Avenue Music Festival. The line-up for Christchurch’s newest music festival this Waitangi Day includes electronic music collective Thievery Corporation, British electro swing duo The Correspondents, Australian Indie folk act Boy & Bear, and local roots reggae favourite Katchafire. If you or your date have kids, this could be a good low-stress event for everyone to get to know each other. As well as the music, there’s a massive light show, giant video walls, carnival rides and a kids’ zone. Best of all, entry is free for children under 12.
- CubaDupa 19-20 March, 2016, Cuba Street, Wellington
Less of a festival and more of a huge block party, CubaDupa celebrates the epic creative spirit of Wellington’s bohemian quarter. Expect music, dance, circus, theatre and all manner of revelry. You and your date can immerse yourself in the action or retire to one of Wellington’s fabulous cafes to view the barely-controlled craziness from the safety of a bar stool.
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