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What music festivals are there?

If you are a music-festival fan you will be happy to learn the short answer here is 'plenty' with several outdoor venue, multi-stage options on both islands and a whole further helping of smaller, more intimate affairs on the menu too.

Almost without exception all of the music festival big guns are staged over the summer and early autumn months which is December – April in the Southern Hemisphere. Here is a very brief run-down of the major musical festival treats to be found.


  • Shipwrecked (Te Arai) – Inspired by European festivals but very definitely Kiwi-flavoured, underground electronic-vibed Shipwrecked - which describes itself as a boutique music and arts festival - has found itself something of a stunning home. With on-site camping available, its surrounds are no less than three lovely lakes with one right on site for some cooling dips in between the festival fun.
  • Electric Avenue (Christchurch) – 12 hours of acts of both international fame and home-grown talent, 2 stages and a bunch of impressive offerings such as an off-the-scale light show and mega-sized video walls.


  • WOMAD (New Plymouth) – An acronym for World of Music, Arts and Dance, the 3-day-long WOMAD now enjoys a big enough reputation that festival-goers come from all over the world. The 50+ acts which perform over 7 stages are also those of international renown.
  • Homegrown (Wellington) – As the name suggests this long-established 1-day music festival showcases Kiwi talent covering a vast variety of musical genres over 5 stages.


  • Rhythm and Alps (Wanaka/Queenstown) – This 2-day camping and music festival is in effect a huge scale New Year's Eve party with notable line-ups made up of both home and international acts with the whole surrounded by the spectacular natural backdrop of this area.
  • Rhythm and Vines (Gisborne) – Thanks to the location of international time lines Gisborne happens to be THE first mainland location on the planet which sees the New Year arrive. This vineyard-set 3-day camping and music festival also happens to be one of the country's biggest with a whopping 70 or so artists performing on 5 large scale stages.
  • Northern Bass (Mangawhai) – Yet another of the New Years Eve scheduled music festival parties, Northern Bass lasts for 3 days and offers a line-up of local and international musicians and DJs.

New Zealand also hosts a vast number of festivals which are not simply music-based but include all kinds of fun. These include Queenstown's Summerdaze, Christchurch's World Busker Festival and Wellington's CubaDupa Street Festival.