South Waikato Music Festival returns for second year as Covid restrictions ease
Amid uncertainty over whether Kiwis will be able to experience their favorite summer music festivals over the next few months, a unique offering taking place in the idyllic Okoroire Hot Springs forest, just outside Tirau , announced that she would be returning for her sophomore year this month.
This week-end festival will celebrate its second anniversary on the last weekend of January in the serene south of Waikato, and its operators, Nextgen Touring co-founders Kurt Barker and James Bristow, have pulled out all the stops to ensure festival-goers will receive the best experience New Zealand has to offer.
The two-day camping festival will host a lineup of local acts, including The Black Seeds and Summer Thieves, and in 2022 the event will welcome its first international act: Belgian artist Netsky.
Kurt and James Pride This week-end festival on its inimitability and intimacy compared to traditional New Zealand music festivals which usually consist of cheap food and limited facilities and equipment. This weekend is The location of the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel means that participants will have access to all the facilities the hotel has to offer, hot showers, access to a restaurant, natural hot springs spas, a pub, tennis courts and a 9-hole golf course – an incredibly promising upgrade from the festival’s regular offerings.
In 2020, after the success of their first festival The longline classic, held in their home town of Gisborne, Kurt and James were happy with the outcome and wanted more. After being approached by South Waikato local and Rhythm and Vines director Andrew Witters, they discovered the hidden gem of the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel and were immediately drawn to the idea of a festival in an untouched location. like Tirau.
“The South Waikato venue did really well, it was such a cool place, we had discovered a hidden gem, it was perfect and it fit our market well,” Kurt said.
“After discovering a huge buyer’s market for tickets to The longline classic came from the center of the North Island; South Waikato was the perfect fit.”
Kurt explained that much of the planning leading up to the This weekend is The first festival was dedicated to building strong relationships with the South Waikato Council, who warmed to the idea and were very pleased with the success of the festival.
“The South Waikato location is also ideal in terms of proximity to Auckland, Tauranga and Coromandel, making it easy for people to access during the summer period.” said Kurt.
South Waikato District Council Marketing Officer Anton Sudano mentioned
This week-end was not the only festival to come to the area last year with another festival known as
Electric wood held last February, which featured award-winning artists helping bring fans to the area.
“Demand is high to hold festivals in the South Waikato area right now and it’s exciting. We are a central location with amazing outdoor venues that have never been seen before, we are very supportive of these events,” said Anton.
Strong ties, back-up dates and perseverance are what it takes to manage festivals during a pandemic. Kurt and James had their platform, their brand and their market, but nothing could quite prepare them for the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Kurt describes the management process as a “roller coaster” as they spent the second half of the year patiently waiting for restrictions to ease.
Nexgen Touring The longline classic
2021 was unfortunately canceled due to Covid-19 in October, but the company was grateful to have slipped into its mid-winter festival work late held in Auckland, a week before Delta entered the country, with the boys considering themselves extremely lucky.
Since then, Kurt said it’s been an anxious journey being an event planner. After The longline classic was postponed, the boys used their brand power of this festival and directed it to This week-end, guaranteeing the implementation of postponement dates in the event of a new epidemic.
“We just look at every announcement like everyone else and hope for the best, it’s already risky to run events as they are, so this increases it,” Kurt said.
Nexgen Touring’s first festival The longline classic in 2020 was one of the first festivals since the first lockdown; “It actually worked in our favor as we got the covid relief payment just before the restrictions were eased and we got it all figured out. It managed to sell out within weeks, which gave us a platform to do more,” Kurt said.
With the recent orange light fall and high vaccination rates in the Waikato, This week-end is in a hopeful position to move forward.
The love for music grew out of co-founders Kurt and James’ days in Dunedin where they completed higher education and got jobs promoting festivals. After gaining experience working on some of New Zealand’s biggest festivals like Bay Dreams, One Love and Soundsplash, the duo found their passion in the industry.
If the music isn’t enough to get you to This week-end, the serene location will certainly be. What better way to experience freedom than attending a music festival with a thermal spa and golf course?
You can find more information about the festival and buy tickets for
This week-end here.
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