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Expectations are funny. I tend to avoid them wherever possible, as I feel I’m one of those awful people who always expects the world and ends up with… not quite that. I might end up with an island or a continent, but I seem to always set myself otherworldly expectations (ha). So, I decided before I went to check out the Auckland City Limits festival (ACL) that I would go into it without any preconceived expectations.
Despite having experienced Big Day Out in it’s almost-glory days, I let ACL wash over me. I took it upon myself to write the first-person account of ACL for you—the good, bad, and ugly of the newest festival to sweep New Zealand’s shores. The music was not my sole focus, I concentrated on the entirety of the festival, these are my findings:
- The National, seasoned indie-rock pros, put on a set with out of this world lighting, that made the experience much better than I thought. The sun was just setting, the crowd were drunk and free, and then these huge lasers came shooting from the stage. It was pretty wild.
- I’d heard rumours about the stage set of Girl Talk, the remix and sampling DJ, being one of the coolest things around. He played in twilight, with a crowd of people dancing alongside onstage as he grooved smugly from behind a huge set-up. On either side of the stage, huge inflatable legs with red converse sneakers loomed above an adoring crowd, while beautiful women shot streamers into the crowd. It was, again, pretty wild.
- For some reason there were a few theme park-esque rides hanging around the festival. It seems weird to me that people would go to a music festival to ride brightly coloured spinning deathtraps, but there you go.
- This one doesn’t really count as it’s my favourite thing about any festival, but the videographers at ACL perfectly picked people in the crowd to film for the jumbotrons on the side of the stage—those who were singing along to an artist without necessarily knowing the words. It was honestly the most hilarious thing, trust me.
- It’s kind of important to mention the music right? That’s generally why people want to go to festivals in the first place. The music was a smooth mix of current rappers, indie rock bands, and New Zealand hometown-heroes. It was an interesting combination, one that allowed for a mellow day filled with killer percussion and lots of beautiful harmonies. Oh, and of course I have to mention Kendrick. But I’m sure you could already guess it was incredible.
So, after putting any expectations aside I managed to have a wonderful time at this colourful and beautiful festival. I discovered some amazing artists and caught up with some blasts from the past (“Misty Frequencies” by Che-Fu definitely brought me back). I’m not sure whether my theory or the festival were to be celebrated, but I’m going to assume it’s a bit of both: is it possible to surpass no expectations?