Experience an amazing summer in New Zealand: party at the best festivals in the most amazing places

No New Zealand summer experience is truly complete without attending one of the many world-class music festivals held around the country. We’ve collated a list of some of the very best festivals New Zealand has to offer.

Each of these festivals has its own flavour and musical genres on the line-up. Many of these festivals are located in truly unique parts of New Zealand where the destination is a treat in itself. Check out our ultimate NZ summer festival guide below.

Soundsplash Festival in Raglan

If you are looking for an amazing summer festival that encapsulates the very best of New Zealand music and performance then sign up for SoundSplash this January. You can look forward to two full days of entertainment from some of New Zealand’s best-known performers showcasing a variety of genres from Roots, Soul, Dub, Drum n Bass, RnB and Hip-hop.

With a progressive environmental focus, Soundsplash supports off-the-grid innovative new ideas, organic architecture and sustainable installations.  Located five minutes drive from Raglan, Wainui Reserve has breath-taking coastal views and is located just 500 metres from the beach. Unplug amongst the myriad of stages, chill zones, the sun, sand and surf.

  • Dates: no 2022 dates yet (in 2021 the festival took place 22, 23, 24 January 2021)
  • Location: Raglan
  • How they describe it: “Soundsplash is passionate about Music. We strive for a mixture of multi-genre International and local acts while supporting newcomers and underground artists.”
  • Line Up 2022: no news yet
  • Access/Location: Located in Raglan on the west coast, just 90 minutes from Auckland or 45 minutes from Hamilton
  • Tickets: on sale via the official website

Rhythm and Vines (R&V) in Gisborne

As you can guess by the name, Rhythm & Vines is hosted in the beautiful surrounds of a vineyard amphitheatre in sunny Gisborne. Established in 2003, it is not only New Zealand’s longest and most established summer festival, it also claims to be the first New Year’s Eve party in the world to see the sunrise on a new year.

What started as a New Year’s Eve party amongst mates has grown from a single-stage event to a full-blown three days, four-stage event attracting up to 20,000 people. Over the years R&V has brought out an amazing line-up of international and Australasian acts including the likes of the Kooks, Santigold, Franz Ferdinand, Public Enemy, Carl Cox, Chase and Status and Chromeo to name but a few. You can expect to get a mix of indie-folk, electronic, dance, drum and bass and electro-pop amongst some other wild cards.

  • Dates: 28 – 31 December 2021
  • Location: Waiohika Estate in Gisborne
  • How they describe it: “The Rhythm and Vines experience is like no other. A proven formula entrenched in New Zealand festival folklore. Rolling hills, natural amphitheatres, man-made waterslides, multiple fast serving bars and food villages, camping amongst the vines and just incredible New Year’s vibes. You just have to experience it to believe it.”
  • Line-Up 2021: to be announced
  • Access/Location: located in Gisborne on the east coast, a 6.5-hour drive from Auckland and Wellington. Book a campervan from our mates at Spaceships and go for a festival road trip.
  • Tickets: on sale via the official website

Laneway Festival in Auckland

Since the first St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival hosted in St. Jerome’s small Melbourne bar in 2005, Laneway now tours five states of Australia, Singapore and little old New Zealand too!  It’s positioned at the other end of mainstream chart-topping genres and prides itself on showcasing an array of fresh, new, emerging artists that are on their way to becoming something special.

At this one day urban festival you can expect a crowd of music-loving hipsters, rocking flashbacks of every type of fashion since the 1920s. It’s a cruisy day out with an easy-going crowd who are passionate about discovering and experiencing the latest in music trends.

  • Date: no 2022 date yet (in 2021 the festival was cancelled)
  • Location: Auckland
  • Line-up 2022: to be announced
  • Access/Location: Albert Park, Auckland CBD
  • Tickets & info: official website

Splore Festival in Auckland

Situated on the waterfront of Tapapakanga Park (approx. 70km from Auckland CBD), the Splore Festival is a boutique music and arts festival and home to one of New Zealand’s greatest dress-up parties. With an underlying ethos built around community and well-being, this is a multi-day camping event that incorporates an eclectic range of vetted musicians along with surprise performances, shows, workshops, flash mobs and disruptions to get you excited.

Slpore festival - Julian Melville (CC BY-NC 2.0) - web
From the top of the hill at Splore festival | photo: Julian Melville (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Those who Splore are known to become loyal annual festival-goers. With February typically turning on long, hot sunny days, at Splore you can expect to frolic in the warm waters as you take in all the festivities unravelling around you.

  • Date:  25-27 February 2022
  • Location: Tapapakanga Park in Auckland
  • How they describe it: “Splore is a three-day music and arts festival staged annually on the shores of Tāpapakanga Regional Park – perhaps the most beautiful festival setting in the world. It’s more than a good place. It’s a good place in your heart.”
  • Line-Up 2022: Shapeshifter, Topp Twins, Hollie Smith, Weird Together, Stefaan van Leuven, Arokah, Dubhead + Empress Naima, 121 Soundsystem and many more.
  • Access/Location: Tapapakanga Regional Park, a 1-hour drive from Auckland and a 1.5-hour drive from Hamilton. Book a car or campervan from our mates Spaceships and go for a festival road trip.
  • Tickets & info: official website

Jim Beam Homegrown in Wellington

Homegrown has been a consistent crowd pleaser, hosted in the capital city of Wellington and featuring New Zealand’s ‘home grown’ artists. It offers a range of stages with genres from Rock, Roots and Dub, Electronic and Urban.

Homwgrown Festival in Wellington (2021)
Homegrown Festival in Wellington: 5 stages, each focusing on a different music style

Most Kiwis who have any appreciation for live music will have done Homegrown at least once, if not more. You are guaranteed to get a star-studded line-up of top quality NZ acts both old and new. This year, it’s worth going just to see Fat Freddy’s Drop and Shihad, two iconic New Zealand bands.

  • Date: 19 March 2022
  • Location: Wellington
  • How they describe it: ” Come celebrate who we are through our music with 5 stages stacked with over 40 of Aotearoa’s best bands and DJs. With all the genres covered there’s something for everyone as well as plenty of carnival rides, bars and delicious food options for all your festival feels.”
  • Line-up 2022: to be announced
  • Access/Location: Waterfront, Wellington City
  • Tickets & info: official website

Which festival is on your hit list this summer?

Tell us in the comments below! Or post questions or tips. We would love to hear your plans or tips for the upcoming festival summer in New Zealand.

Lisa T

Originally from Delaware, USA. Favourite Stray stop: Blue Duck Station (New Zealand). Fun fact: her knowledge of sci-fi, Disney and British literature make her the Queen of Trivia.

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