My usual Manchester audience may not be familiar with Rhythm and Vines festival, set in the picture-perfect vineyards of the Waiohika Estate, in magical Gisbourne, on the North Island of New Zealand; but you’re about to be.
Envisage endless rows of grape vines, green rolling hills all the way down to the glittering blue sea in the distance, hot hot hot sun all day to lie back and relax- then put New Zealand’s biggest New Years Eve party raving right in the centre!
RNV famously began in 2003 when founder Hamish Pinkham wanted to hold a New Years Eve party for his University friends. Starting back then for one night only with one stage and less than 2000 people, this year RNV hosted us for three nights, over four stages and a complete sell-out on 12000 tickets.
With a mixture of New Zealand favourites and worldwide acts Chance the Rapper headlined the Friday night, followed by performances from Kimbra, Zhu, Netsky, Wilkinson, Hot Chip and Pacific Heights and many more took us up until the very first sunrise of 2017, seeing it before any other country in the world!
My musical highlight had to be Ocean Alley (pictured below), a psychedelic reggae fusion band from Sydney who will forever remind me of good times chilling out on the hills with picture-perfect views in the sun.
There wasn’t just the music at RNV, I started one morning with the best yoga session I’ve ever had from Yoga Rhapsody, an invigorating class set to acoustic live music in the warm Gisbourne sunshine.
There was comedy too from Giggle and Vines. We heard from Cori Gonzalez-Maceur of What We Do in the Shadows fame, plus hilariously funny Alice Brine, David Correos and Rhys Matthewson. Hamish Pinkham himself tried out a comedy slot too which I believe was all in aid of charity, or a bet maybe- but it turned into more of a great story time about how RNV started and his adventures with artists and bands along the way.
There was all the usual festival fun and games of course, but with a New Zealand twist, particularly to our British selves who often think festivals are about raincoats and mud (huge thank you to RNV for constant supply of free factor 50 sun block by the way…)! There was a huge slip n slide where local radio station The Hits were giving out cash prizes, there were circus performers, all the fancy dress you can imagine, face painting, acoustic performances, a massive variety of food vendors (who catered remarkably for vegans I have to say!) and the occasional lost sheep.
We may have travelled 12,000 miles around the world but festival vibes are the best at bringing people together and chilling out over some great music. It’s great to see RNV growing every year and I just hope we can make the trip again and catch it sometime!