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The Best Music Festivals to Hit Around New Zealand This Summer

From world music to chart-topping pop and left-field rap, this list has something for every musical inclination (and intensity).
By Kate Powell
September 30, 2019
By Kate Powell
September 30, 2019

Like long days on the beach, barbeques and ice creams, music festivals have become a quintessential part of the Kiwi summer. Spring has only just sprung, but already there are a glut of festivals to look forward to. From world music to chart-topping pop, left-field rap to electronica guaranteed to make you move, there's something for all tastes. Here are some of our picks to start 2020 off right.



Over the last 16 years, Rhythm and Vines has built a reputation to become the way to ring in the new year. What was originally a small reggae festival for some mates has morphed into 100 acts on five stages across three days with an electronic/rap heavy bent. Trap wunderkid RL Grime, dance duo Disclosure and mind-bending electropop artist Alison Wonderland have been announced as international headliners. While New Zealand's current golden age of hip hop is well represented with Home Brew, Church and AP and Eno x Dirty all on the bill, which is running between 29–31 December. With plenty more acts to be announced punters can find out more and nab tickets on the Rhythm and Vines website — but get in quick, because according to organisers, 80 percent of the tickets have already sold.


Mitch Lowe


This new festival brings the hottest rappers and DJs out right now. 2020 promises to be no different, with a stacked lineup. Boy band Brockhampton leads the charge. With the group's recently released album Ginger and breakout star Kevin Abstract's release Arizona Baby, Brockhampton is riding a wave of critical acclaim, making FOMO an amazing opportunity to see them at their peak. They will be joined by Kaytranada who recently celebrated the release of his new song 'DYSFUNCTIONAL' — a woozy, funky slow jam. But if social media hype is anything to go by, Lizzo is the true headliner. From the disco-infused 'Juice' to bar-breaking sass of 'Truth Hurts' to her twerking, flute-playing, empowering stage show, Lizzo is a performer not to be missed. XXL Freshman inductee Rico Nasty will be bringing tight flows and trap beats, while Aotearoa's own Melodownz will also grace the stage. Catch them and more this January.


BCS Imaging


From humble beginnings in Aotea Square, Laneway has arguably become the crown jewel on New Zealand's summer festival circuit. 2020 will see it return to the leafy surrounds of Albert Park, while the lineup is arguably its most recognisable yet. Acclaimed top 40 hitmakers The 1975 and Charli XCX have been announced as headliners — a bit of a shift for the festival, which usually prides itself for its left-of-field yet critically acclaimed artists. However, this ethos hasn't been completely abandoned, with rap extraordinaries Earl Sweatshirt and J.I.D, punk darlings Fountaines DC and local psych-rockers Mermaidens all on the first announcement. With more acts to come, Laneway is always a fun day out regardless of the setlist. Make sure to grab your ticket.


Beth Mountford


If you're into the unexpected, prepare to get lost at Welcome to Nowhere. The brainchild of Wellington's Eyegum Music Collective, the fourth iteration of Welcome to Nowhere promises to be its most exciting yet. Punters travel to an undisclosed location 50 kilometres inland from Whanganui for a weekend of music, art, poetry comedy and a live reenactment of Shrek between 11-12 January 2020. Artists just announced include Earth Tongue, Space Bats Attack, Dead Little Penny and Echo Ohs, so rest assured its going to be a stonker.




For the last ten years, New Plymouth in Taranaki has been home to WOMAD, a three-day festival of music, dance and art from around the world. Although the full lineup is yet to be announced, previous WOMADs have offered a myriad of music from throat singing to flamenco, folk to hip hop, ensuring a truly inclusive and hyperbolic celebration. 2020's festivities will take place between Friday, 13 March to Sunday, 15 March 2020 at TSB Bowl of Brooklands, Pukekura Park. Early bird tickets, ranging from day passes to weekend camping stays and up-to-date news can be found on the WOMAD website.


Bas van Est


For 20 years, this three-day festival has celebrated art, music, wellbeing and fierce fashion. 2020 sees it return to the pristine shores of Tapakanga Regional Park between 21-23rd February. Keep up to date with this truly unique festival on their website.


James Sales


Nelson and The Mount have long been popular summer destinations, so it's baffling to think that they've only recently got their own festivals, courtesy of Bay Dreams. Next year, the biggest drawcard will be headliner Tyler the Creator who will be celebrating not only his sensational album Igor, but also being allowed back into our country after he was banned eight years ago. It will be his only show in New Zealand, so if you're a fan, get in quick. The Mount will be lucky enough to have both Tyler and  pop icon Hayley headlining, along with a smorgasboard of international artists including Skepta, Yelawolf and Ella Mai. Get in quick.

Published on September 30, 2019 by Kate Powell


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