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February 25, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Camp a Low Hum

Sure, Big Day Out was hot. Literally. Hot in a sweaty, overcrowded, I-saw-two-people-vomit-from-sunstroke-y kind of way. Camp a Low Hum, however, was hot in a four-days-and-five-nights-of-wall-to-wall-music-and-dress-up-parties-in-a-serene-and-beautiful-setting-with-only-about-500-people kind of way.

CALH managed to exceed every expectation I had after hearing last year’s rave reviews. AND, Tatem Park (just beyond Otaki) offered everything – camp fires, plenty of trees, secret stages, nice facilities, raves inside forests, a confidence course, a pool (a no-go zone after the second day), and several stages for bands.

‘A Low Hum’ tour is generally associated with underground, independent New Zealand bands, so camp was an ideal opportunity to check out heaps of mind-blowing bands that have thus far been kept secret (ish). CALH even had a “Renegade Room” for those in bands who wanted to play a show but hadn’t been booked for camp. The idea was to book a time, make posters in the Arts and Crafts room and then spread the word! A couple of secret shows were also played in the renegade room, including the VBC/MySpace launch party with Melbourne-based band Batrider and Bang! Bang! Eche! (Christchurch).

Of notable mention were Auckland band Mean Street, Big Flip and the Massive (awesome drumming), Hamiltonian band Sora Shima (in the same vein as Jakob/Mogwai), Melbourne accordion/guitarist/ex-drummer-from-a-hardcore-band, Pikelet, Bang! Bang! Eche (and Aids!), the Cobra session (with D-Rad, musicians from Goodbye Galaxy, Thought Creature, Trans Am and several others playing together and directed by Auckland musician Flick), So So Modern with MC Stormtrooper (with guest appearances from several power cuts which led to amazing some amazing drum solos), the Damned Evangelist from Lyttleton, The Ragamuffin Children, Crywank… and many, many more. There were also several ‘big’ acts that headlined every night including Trans Am, Liam Finn, (both of whom were spectacular), The Brunettes, The Phoenix Foundation and Connan & the Mockasins.

Camp had a very laid back, calm feel. Most of the bands played twice during the four days, so you didn’t need to rush everywhere to check out acts you wanted to see, which left plenty of time to get to know your fellow campers from all parts of the country, check out a movie in the movie room, laze about in the sun or peruse the very well price merchandise/marshmallows/munchies for sale. And if that wasn’t enough, there was also a radio station, CALH fm (supplied by our very own VBC) where you could do your own show, AND a tasty café offering mouth watering delights for when you ran out of two minute noodles and apples.

I also have to point out the amazing facilities. Rubbish was sorted and recycled, there was always paper in the bathrooms, we were supplied with a kitchen to cook up our own food, and despite the odd vomiter that I saw in the bathroom during the wee hours, they were always brand-spanking in the morning.

Unfortunately there was a bit of damage done to gear and stage equipment due to drunken tomfoolery (broken windows, fire extinguishers being let off, blocking of the pool filter by mystery items), and Blink now has to cough up $5000 dollars. So, if you want some sweet gear/great cds/t shirts/Blink not to go broke so we can have another camp/ PLEASE go to and buy some camp merch. Or if you just want to show your appreciation for the best music festival (dare I say it) of 2008, why not just make a donation.

In all seriousness, don’t bother with the Big Day Out next year. Save your bunse for Camp 09.

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