Demand for South Waikato music festivals ‘exploding’ as more planned

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More than 1000 music fans will fill a secret location during the South Waikato Electric Timber festival next month.

The Event Girl/Supplied

More than 1000 music fans will fill a secret location during the South Waikato Electric Timber festival next month.

Plans are under way to make South Waikato New Zealand’s music festival capital, with hopes of getting “bigger than Rhythm and Vines”.

Hot off the back of That Weekend – a 1300 strong concert held at the historic Okoroire Hotel near Tīrau featuring top New Zealand musicians and access to unique facilities – an even bigger music festival at a secret location will be held next month.

Electric Timber, featuring the likes of award winner Lee Mvtthews​, T1R, Emwa, Tellah, and Sin, is anticipated to attract 1500 electronic music fans to the region on February 20. It follows two smaller sold-out Electric Timber concerts used to get a feel for demand in 2020.

The Event Girl’s Rebekah Garner is an organiser. Demand in the area is “exploding”, she said, and it was the start of big things to come.

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“My plan is to make us New Zealand’s music festival capital,” she said.

“I love what [NexGen Touring co-owners James Bristow and Kurt Barker] are doing with That Weekend and I said to them that we are so underutilised as a region for these types of events.

“We are central and we have got all these beautiful places that could be seen and showcased for music festivals.

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“It’s also exciting to see successful DJs wanting to come. I think Covid-19 is showing what we have in our backyard.”

The Event Girl's Rebekah Garner is excited about the future of music festivals in South Waikato.

SUPPLIED

The Event Girl’s Rebekah Garner is excited about the future of music festivals in South Waikato.

Garner, who is working alongside DJ and artist manager Keegan Jones, said demand for such festivals in the district was “exploding”.

“We did our first one at the Tokoroa Club in July and sold out 350 tickets within 72 hours and our second one…in November with 400 tickets again sold out,” she said.

“We have a strong Hamilton following and eventually I want to get bigger than Rhythm and Vines. I am excited to bring something new to the area and to promote South Waikato.”

She said having a secret location was building hype.

“It’s not just about the music, it’s also about the experience – which is what the boys are doing with That Weekend as well,” she said.

“The aim is to build a high-end boutique festival. We’ve got a scream machine and we’ve been quite selective with our food trucks with Earthling Foods which is vegan, Southern Meat Kitchen which is massively popular, real fruit ice cream, Love Your Kai which is local, and wood fired pizzas.

Music fans during the first Electric Timber concert which sold out in 72 hours.

The Event Girl/Supplied

Music fans during the first Electric Timber concert which sold out in 72 hours.

“We will also have buses going from Tokoroa, Pūtāruru, Hamilton and Taupō to the secret location. It’s going to be awesome.”

Garner said the only thing holding the district back from embracing bigger events and festivals was lack of accommodation.

“Because we have got big artists coming we’ve had to book them into Airbnb from Karapiro to Mangakino,” she said.

Tickets can be purchased from ticketfairy.com.

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