The New Zealand summer festivals are alive and kicking thanks to the likes of Pato Entertainment. We have some amazing NZ music and bands like Six60, L.A.B and Lion Rezz. One Love has been rated as the go to festival for Australia and New Zealand and I can't help but think about where this New Zeland tradition came from and how it has evolved to be a summer essential.
Many years ago back in 1999 a few friends and I wanted to celebrate that we had finished school for the year. We had brought tickets to sweet waters where UB40 was headlining. We were 6th formers from Aorere College wanting to celebrate. We didn't drink Alcohol or do drugs. We just wanted to embrace the vibe of a 3 day festival. Little did I know that I would cement memories that would stick with me for life.
Sweet waters was held near the airport on some farmers land and it was such a beautiful location. Come to think of it now it was actually land apart of Ihumātao land.
I remember walking down the entry road carrying our tent and tickets. We found a place to pitch our tents.
I don't really remember much but what I do remember is Herbs on stage smoking the biggest joint I have ever seen. It was rolled up in newspaper. I thought it looked stupid but the crowd enjoyed it. The vibe was amazing! I was seeing the founding members of NZ Reggae music performing. I didn't know at the time but the older I got the more I realised the privilege I had to see all the members perform. We watched Ardijah perform on the main stage and as usual the main singer (Betty) ripped the stage.
On the last night when UB40 was scheduled to play we were talking to the security guard and they told us the organiser did the runner with all the money. UB40 didnt want to come out but the crowd was so rowdy it would of caused a riot if they didn't come out. They didn't know if they were going to be paid so they asked that all cameras were to be removed. Members of the crowd were so crazy they ripped the cameras from the TV crews hands and passed it down the mosh pit. I know they didn't ever get those cameras back ever again.
We watched UB40 perform all their amazing hits. This experienced changed my life. Since then I went to Big day outs and watched some of the legends of Rock. I saw Marilyn Manson, Prodigy, Foo Fighters, Korn, Tool, and many more. I have been to so many festivals in NZ I feel so much love for music especially NZ Music.
New Zeland festivals are not just about the music but it's about being apart of History. When Bob Marley visited NZ for his concert, he changed and inspired musicians. Uncle Bob creayed history in New Zealand and inspired a generation.
I think of Lion Rezz when he came out singing "what do I do" "I runtingz for a reason" at One love last year. That vibe would be implanted in the memories of those that attended that day. NZ festivals are about creating memories for a lifetime. It's about what Bob Marley did to a generation, it's what the Herbs and Ardijah did to NZ Reggae. It's about uplifting and inspiring a generation.