Despite its geographical isolation, New Zealand is a country that many tourists dream of visiting.
As well as cultural attractions (such as the Lord of the Rings Shire Tour) and beautiful natural scenery, there are also many great music festivals to enjoy.
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Rhythm and vines
Our first stop on the list of best music festivals in New Zealand is Rhythm and Vines, which takes place in Gisborne (in the Waiohika estate on the east coast of the North Island). For those who like to celebrate the New Year in style, this three-day festival is ideal as it takes place from December 29 to 31.
The location is absolutely stunning and was chosen on this basis by founding friends Hamish Pinkham, Tom Gibson and Andrew Witters at the first Rhythm and Vines festival in 2003. Their idea was to have a scenic and safe backdrop for a festival featuring both established and rising stars from the New Zealand music world, and its location has the pleasant side effect of making it the first festival to welcome the sunrise of a new year.
Rhythm and Alps
Another prominent Kiwi music festival is Rhythm and Vines’ sister event: Rhythm and Alps. Set on the South Island at the foot (as it should be) of the Southern Alps, this musical extravaganza is also a three-day event and also takes place from December 29-31 (the downside being, of course, that you can only attend this or Rhythm and Vines in a given year). Dozens of local and international acts perform on four stages and three days to welcome next year.
While sometimes even big events like the X Rising Festival end up disappearing from the music calendar, new festivals are always being added and there is no shortage of new music throughout the year in New Zealand.
One such event is the Pasifika Festival, which takes place in Auckland on 11 stages that host ukuleles, marching bands, drums and more to celebrate Pacific cultures, including that of the Maori.
Hosted in the capital city of Wellington, the Homegrown Music Festival offers an eclectic mix, with genres such as rock, hip hop, reggae and more, so all tastes have a musical treat to enjoy.
The event begins in mid-March and includes a quintet of stages erected on Wellington’s waterfront. The capital’s location makes Homegrown one of the easiest festivals to reach for Kiwis and international tourists alike, with all of Wellington’s attractions close at hand (including the artistic delights of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the exotic wildlife and beautiful landscapes of Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne). And the March calendar window avoids the worst heat and offers a generally cool and comfortable atmosphere.
Another three-day festival that has delighted many Kiwi and foreign visitors over the years is WOMAD. The festival takes place over three days in mid-March at Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Park in New Plymouth (Taranaki).
As with many other leisure activities, there has been a recent hiatus from WOMAD due to the effects of the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, but it is expected to return in 2023. WOMAD stands for World of Music, Arts, and Dance and is a family-oriented festival, which makes it ideal for vacationers traveling with little ones. It’s also ideal for campers thanks to the range of camping options, and people of all ages are welcome at this multicultural musical event.
New Zealand is renowned the world over for its stunning scenery, and the musical landscape is also a feast for the ears.