RHYTHM AND ALPS
If the thought of overflowing port-a-loos and wasted kids who look as though they should still be watching Dora outweighs your desire to party next to some grapes, Rhythm and Alps is the festi’ for you. Nestled in the heart of Cardrona Valley with capacity for about 7000, and with the same headline acts as RnV, RnA presents RnV for the faint-hearted, and Glastonbury for the Southern Man.
THE GOOD: Any initial concern over the BYO ban was quickly alleviated when security staff told us to “just hide it somewhere” upon our arrival in a large yellow bus. Sunshine. Chilled-out campers and good vibes. Five-minute walk from your tent to pretty much anywhere. Outdoor showers = prime opportunity for checking out babes. Shapeshifter. Tahuna Breaks. Zane Lowe sounded good from the comfort of my airbed, too.
THE BAD: Major embarrassing-dad moment when headline act, Rudimental, addressed the crowd by its big sister’s name. Telecom refused to believe 7000 people would ever be in Central Otago. As a result, the entire network crashed, leaving attendees with little recourse beyond actually speaking. Those without a bus were limited to six cans of beer/RTDs at a time from on-site vendors. –1000 degrees at night. A limited range of extracurricular activities; but would you have done them anyway?
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THE UGLY: A bit of a downer on the last day when we push-started our bus straight into the caravan parked behind it. But everyone needs a good festi’ story. 4.5/5.
– Penny Gault
CAMP A LOW HUM
Camp is – was – a world unto itself. Three days, four nights. Around a thousand people. A secret lineup of 70 ‘official’ acts, and countless ‘Renegade’ acts. Wainuiomata. All Ages. BYO. DIY. Drugs. And this year – mud. Mud beyond belief.
2014’s Camp (8–10 February) was the eighth and last ever. It rained constantly from Saturday to Monday, but was still the most fun I’ve had all year. Also the least.
The best thing about Camp, the thing that really sets it apart, are the stages. Located all over a sprawling campground, they range from the intimately sweaty (Noisy – tiny classroom floor), to the intimately *naturey* (Journey – a platform on the banks of a stream), to the intimately *buzzy* (Forest – in a forest, with lights), to the intimately summery (Lagoon, by a lagoon). You can view every stage from all angles, and the timetabling/crowds are relaxed enough that you don’t miss anything you don’t want to.
Rain cancelled a lot of the good stages (and created a new one) this year. But what about the music? 85 per cent of it was fucking excellent, as always, particularly: Spermaids, Swimming, Mesa Cosa, Career Girls, Gains, Skymning, Circle Jerk and anything that Eddie Johnston touched.
See you when Blink misses us in two years.
– Henry Cooke
LA DE DA
La De Da seemed like the perfect New Year’s festival for us. Working up until the 31st, we felt it had the right amount of practicality being only an hour away from Wellington, but also made us think we were being pretty YOLO, despite buying our tickets in October.
For a small festival in the middle of the Wairarapa, the line-up was pretty good. The biggest international acts, Flume and A$AP Rocky, were performing on the 30th and we were only going for the 31st. Apparently it was decent, but I wasn’t there so I don’t really care. We partied in the New Year with Dead Prez. The duo said “What up Nu Zeeland” 1000 times, but were actually quite fun.
Why anyone would camp in ‘Lullaby Lane’, I don’t know. You couldn’t take alcohol onto the campsite. You smuggled it in, or you had to buy it all in there, which was outrageously expensive. However, my friend learnt that you could pop a tit to get what you needed for free.
People compare La De Da to a very, very amateur version of RnV. It’s a lot smaller, but this meant there were not as many douchebags or sluts. It’s not a festival to travel far for, but the weather was nice, the people were relaxed, and it was definitely better than spending New Year’s on Courtenay Place.
– Issie Grundy
RHYTHM AND VINES
Against my better judgment, I attended Rhythm and Vines 13/14. You’d think I would have learnt my lesson the first two times, but in the end, the allure of “sun, sluts and real mean pills bro” was too much to pass up.
The line-up was as good as could be expected for the largest New Year’s festival in a country located in the middle of fucking nowhere. Wiz Khalifa was touted as “the absolute shit” and “the only reason I came”.
There was something for almost everyone. House, rock, trance, pop and a liberal dose of grimy DnB all ensured there were always people at the St John tent with lower-back problems. Some festival-goers were there to appreciate the music, but the majority were content attempting to eat their own eyelids.
The weather provided the perfect excuse for gym jocks to show off just how much they had been shredding for Rhythm. It also helped with the lesser-endowed participants in the attempt at breaking the world skinny-dipping record.
On the whole, it was exactly what you would expect it to be: heaving masses of 18-to-20-somethings writhing in a mass of Jim Beam, singlets and a cocktail of whatever would fit up their hooters before lining up. 5 stars.
– Ethan Fett
BIG DAY OUT
What better way to mark the beginning of summer and 2014 than with a music festival? Well, that’s something Auckland isn’t short of. As the name so obviously suggests, the one with the biggest acts, location and crowds is Big Day Out.
After a year’s hiatus, BDO was back and bigger than ever, in a brand-new location – Auckland’s Western Springs. Auckland weather did not disappoint, treating us with a cloudless sky all day.
The lineup included Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire and Snoop Lion. The crowd came to party. Although having to wait over an hour for a drink was a downer, BDO proved that you don’t always need alcohol to have a good time.
There was definite nostalgia watching Snoop Lion perform ‘Drop it Like it’s Hot’. The highlight for me would have to be the final act, Major Lazer. Commanding the crowd like I had never seen before, we were taking our tops off and running around in circles.
Thank God BDO didn’t leave us forever.
– Lucy Connell
Even without headliners James Blake and Lorde, who at the last minute found better, Grammys-centric plans, the line-up at Laneway 2014 had me excited. To scratch my electronic itch, there was Mount Kimbie and Jamie xx. To sate my indie-rock cravings, there was Daughter, Kurt Vile, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Chvrches and Haim—the latter of whom, strutting across the stage like some legends of classic rock, put on one of the best festival sets I’ve seen.
There was hip-hop too—although the decision to place Danny Brown and Run the Jewels on the smaller, side stage was an odd one, as the crowd was left either standing awkwardly by the port-a-loos or fighting for their lives in the middle, trying desperately to not be stampeded or terminally crushed. I nearly died. Earl Sweatshirt’s afternoon set on the main stage was less life-threatening, if not less exciting—which somebody should probably let Immigration NZ in on.
My evening finished with Cat Power, whose solo acoustic set was slightly at odds with the rest of the line-up. However, despite the shapeless bass emanating from The Presets on the main stage, which filled the silence between songs, it was an intimately powerful performance.
Sore knees, sore feet, but a good day. Three thumbs up.
– Ollie Neas