Stray’s Ultimate NZ Summer Festival Guide

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 with its own flavour and musical genres. Many 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 with Stray


Dates: 20 – 22 January, 2017
Location: Raglan
Line Up: Six60, Little Bushman, State of Mind, Hollie Smith, Tiki Tane, Drax Project, Maala, Pacific Heights
Size: Multi-day event, (approximately 10,000 people)
Access/Location: Located in Raglan on the west coast, just 90 minutes from Auckland or 45 minutes from Hamilton
Tickets from: $145.00

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.

Rhythm and Vines (R&V)

Dates: 29-31st December, 2016
Location: Waiohika Estate, Gisborne
Line-Up: Kinteic, Kimbra, ZHU, RÜFÜS, Netsky DJ
Size: Multi-day event (approximately 20,000 people)
Access/Location: located in Gisborne on the east coast, a 6.5-hour drive from Auckland and Wellington.
Tickets start from: $270 or $360 including camping

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 sun rise on a new year. What started as a New Year’s Eve party amongst mates has grown from single stage event to a full blow three day, 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 base and electro pop amongst some other wild cards.

Laneway Festival AKD

Date: 30 January, 2017
Location: Auckland
Line-up: Tame Impala, Cut Off Your Hands, Nick Murphy, Tourist, The Veils, Glass Animals, Clams Casino
Size: One-day event (approximately 10,000 people)
Access/Location: Albert Park, Auckland CBD
Tickets start from: $160

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:  17 – 19  February, 2017
Location: Tapapakanga Park, Auckland
Line-Up: Blackalicious  (US), Skye & Ross (UK), Lady Keshurr (UK), Dub Pistols (UK)
Size: Multi-day event, (approximately 10,000 people)
Access/Location: Tapapakanga Regional Park, a 1 hour drive from Auckland and a 1.5 hour drive from Hamilton
Tickets start from: $245

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 which incorporates an eclectic range of vetted musicians along with surprise performances, shows, workshops, flash mobs and disruptions to get you excited.  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 the all the festivities unravelling around you.

Jim Beam Homegrown

Date: 4 March, 2017
Location: Wellington
Line-up: Fat Freddy’s Drop, The Black Seeds, Ladi6, Shihad, The Upbeats, Aaradhana, I Am Giant
Size: One day event, (approximately 17,000 people)
Access/Location: Waterfront, Wellington City
Tickets start from: $119

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. 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. However the likes of Ladi6 and Aaradhana who just cleaned out the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards would be worth checking out too.

Which festival is on your hit list this summer? Tell us in the comments below!

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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