As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, we’re starting the get amped up for the most wonderful time of the year. We’re talkin’ New Zealand’s summer festival season. Across the country, lads and lasses will be locking in tickets to some of the best summer festivals our country has to offer, all promising an epic mash-up of beats, vibes and all round good times in the sunshine.
Keen to dive into the wonderful world of New Zealand summer festivals? Of course you do! To help you pick and choose, we’ve whipped up the ultimate guide to the best summer festivals in New Zealand. From the classic New Year’s parties to boutique one-day events and family-friendly weekends, here are all the festivals you need to be at this summer. Let the partying begin!
Rhythm & Vines
28 December 2018 — 1 January 2019
What’s a summer festy list without a shout-out to Rhythm & Vines? If you’re a) a Kiwi and b) partial to ringing in the New Year with thousands of other music-loving punters, then R&V is something you need to experience at least once. Set in amongst the vines in sunny Gisborne, this year’s festival comes with a solid line-up including Juice WRLD, Smokepurpp, Vince Staples and so many more. Be there.
Rhythm & Alps
29 — 31 December 2018
You South Island crew sure know how to party. Rhythm & Alps has become the go-to New Year’s camping festival in Wanaka and Queenstown, and we totally understand why. R & A combines stunning scenery with always awesome acts and seriously good festival feels. Heck, even Auckland folks are making their way down south to get a piece of the action. This year’s line-up is looking mighty fine with The Black Seeds, Matt Corby, Bicep (Live) and The Cat Empire ripping up the stage.
29 — 31 December 2018
All about that bass? Mangawhai’s Northern Bass is where you need to be this New Year’s. Back for its eighth year, the line-up is as strong as ever with Shapeshifter, American rapper Joey Bada$$, Wellington legends, The Upbeats and a bunch of other artists with a knack for putting down sick beats. It’s also the perfect place to try out festival camping.
31 December 2018
We lost the plot when we heard that Auckland was getting its very own NYE festival and last year’s Wondergarden did not disappoint. This year its back and ready to rock Silo Park into 2019. We cannot wait to see Katchafire take the stage and KLLO, Matthew Young, Ladi6 and Tina Turntables are going to be a hoot, too. Grab your tickets before they’re all snapped up.
2 January and 4 January 2019
Are you one of those people who instantly downbuzzes once New Year’s is over? Fret not and book your tickets to Mt Maunganui’s Bay Dreams festival on January 2. There really is no better way to kick off the New Year than jamming to some live Cardi B, Sticky Fingers and Home Brew. For those of you who have some life left in you by the end of the Mt. Maunganui festival, take a roadie to Nelson as Bay Dreams be launching for the first time on January 4 and continuing the party.
30 January – 6 February 2019
Nelson’s magical Golden Bay brings together New Zealand’s cutting-edge live and electronic music. The Luminate Festival hosts more than 200 musical acts over a week and has five different zones so there’s music to fits anyone’s taste. The Lunasa Stage is for those who like jazz funk, Tribal connects with sounds of indigenous instruments, Electronic Zone is where you mosh out, Chillounge is the place to go to when you want some downtime and the Village Stage is where they offer some community fun.
18 — 20 January 2019
Oh, how we love Raglan. With the surf, sunshine and cute wee township, you could almost say that it’s our dream summer destination…although Soundsplash might have something to do with that. This three-day music festival will take place at Wainui Reserve with an eclectic mix of music, art, yoga, dance, food and bevvies. On the music front, London musician Macky Gee will do what he does best alongside Sachi, The Funk Hunters and Famous Dex, just to name a few.
28 January 2019
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival is gearing up to put on yet another stellar show next year. Held over Auckland Anniversary weekend on 28th January, this boutique festy will be a music-fuelled day to remember. A range of international and local acts will do their thing, some of Auckland’s best food vendors will keep tummies full and the sun will hopefully shine, shine, shine. Our picks? Mitski, Florence + The Machine, Billie Eilish, IMUGI and Denzel Curry, but you can check out the full line-up for yourself here.
21 — 24 February 2019
If you think you’ll be sick of being just another number in the mosh pit by February, get your booty to Splore. This three-day festival is in a league of its own with everything from music and performing arts to workshops, installations, kids zones, wellness centres and a whole lot of love. Settle in on the beautiful shores of Tapapakanga Regional Park, put on your party pants and prepare for the three-day entertainment extravaganza.
15 — 17 March 2019
WOMAD is set to bring the best in music, art and dance to New Plymouth next year and it’s going to be a bloody good time. This is a festival of culture with different settings up for exploration. Get amongst their Kunming Garden to find your inner zen or hit up their global village where you can eat your way through the globe of international cuisine. You’ll be kept busy with art installations, site performances and workshops as well as grooving to the epic tunes of Kora, Rebtien and Ria Hall.
23 March 2019
Homegrown continues to show Welly how to party and its 2019 festival is going to be no different. The line-up of 42 acts is set to drop on Monday 5th November and promises to be all sorts of awesome. Just from their first announcement of acts, we could not be more excited for this festival. We're talking Home Brew, Dave Dobbyn and The Black Seeds, with five stages and a pre-party for the extra keen beans, you really don’t want to miss this one.
Image Credit: Cardi B At Coachella 2018