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March 20, 2016 | by  | in Music |
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Newtown Festival Interviews

Being new to Wellington, this year was my first foray to the Newtown festival. Passing through a crowd that reeked (both literally and metaphorically) of what I imagined Wellington would be like, I arrived at the Newtown Ave stage. I was shepherded into Alex’s flat from Groeni, which seemed to have had a previous life as some kind of industrial premises. I was told to talk to as many of them as I could. The conversations with artists and their friends follow.



We’re Groeni, that’s three members; James who plays guitar and samples, Mike who plays bass and keyboards, and Al who plays drums and sings vocals.

What do you like about festivals?

The big ones, you obviously get to play on a massive PA to a different audience you wouldn’t normally get in Wellington. There’s a super cool vibe, more about the party than the music.

What do you like about Newtown fest?

Never played at Newtown festival before. I really like the programme this year, there’s heaps of cool bands. It’s not fully a music festival vibe but rather about the community and food as well.

Describe your music in a few words.

*Groeni-ng* (ha), dance, soul/folk/soulful/techno.



I am Blaeke. It’s just a new electronic project that I’ve started. I’ve been in primarily folk bands, so this is a very new thing.

What do you like about festivals?

It’s just the atmosphere, everyone is keen to listen to music, and you feel really supported by the musicians around you. Everyone wants to listen and just enjoy themselves. I live in Newtown, I love the community, food, and music.

What’s been your favourite part of this year’s festival?

It’s been really cool having a nice space next to the stage and meeting different musicians.

Describe your music in a few words.

Melodic, rhythmic, hopefully kind of atmospheric. I guess it’s personal music.



We’re in Fortunes which is an electronic R&B duo in Melbourne. Barnaby makes beats and Connor sings.

Have you played in NZ before?

We actually played here one time, in this lounge which was pretty funny. It turned out be a real intimate gig because the sound control got called real early so we had to turn everything down, and everyone ended up sitting down.

How are you finding Newtown?

I like Wellington, I’m always really confused when I’m here though—I never know where I am, but it’s all beautiful.

What do you think about Newtown fest?

Connor: Every year is a sunny day, it’s never a bad day.

Barnaby: Good diversity in the stages; we walked past a jazz stage, a massive ukulele band playing, some spoken word on another stage and then some electronic DJs. It’s a good mix.

Describe your music in a few words.

Just R&B basically, leaning towards hip hop, soul.




My name is Oliver Perryman. For the last few years I’ve been travelling and performing in Europe under the name Fis.

What you think of Newtown so far?

It’s quite hot outside and I burn quite easily, so I’m just using SPF shade right now.

What do you like about festivals?

Over in Europe they tend to be really well organised, so from an artist point of view you get looked after really nicely. Because the festivals I play in Europe receive funding from the government, they’re also able to bring many unmatched artists together in the same place.

Explain your music in a few words.

Experimental, electronic music played on big sound systems to provide a physical meditative listening experience.


Sui Zhen

I’m Becky Sui Zhen and I perform as Sui Zhen. This is my first time visiting and playing in New Zealand.

How are you finding Newton festival so far?

I got to see a woman belly dancing, and everyone was eating icecream. It seems like a very community-based festival. I like the mixture of people – it seems to have a diverse audience watching the Newtown stage as well.

Describe your music in a few words.

Japanese-city-lounge-pop with lyrics and melody at it’s core and lots of 808s.


Newtown festival is unlike any festival I’ve been to before. Beneath the vibrant atmosphere was a sublime selection of music, made by some clever and thoughtful people not to rake in the cash, but to share the love of music with some of the most outrageous and weird folk of Wellington.


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