Rhythm and Alps Festival NYE 2016
Happy new year from the other side of the world! This year we decided to switch it up and do something a bit different to the usual house party or club in bristol for a change, so we headed to one of new Zealand’s biggest New Year’s parties, Rhythm and Alps festival. Held at Robrosa Station in Wanaka’s majestic rolling Cardrona Valley. The festival site was made up of three innovative stages featuring a jaw dropping amount of insane visual effects and orchestrated lighting specially designed by R&A’s own experts as well as 60 acts comprised of the best home grown talent and top artists from around the world.
The music officially kicked off on the 30th of December, giving festival goers an extra night for the new years celebrations. The sun was shining and the music was blaring by the afternoon bringing in everybody from the campsite in high spirits. Ocean Alley were the first act to catch our attention on the huge Alpine Arena Stage (Main Stage) and swung the crowd into action. Playing a bunch of mellow track from there debut album Lost Tropics. A few hours after came on our main highlight, Los Angeles- based rapper and founding member of the legendary hip hop group Jurassic 5, Akil the MC followed suit accompanied by his DJ who spun a few records by the likes of NAO and Wu Tang. Rearing in a massive crowd, Akil jumped off stage and over the barrier mid set and got everyone to form a cypher circle for him. He called out for 4 fellow mc’s to join him and take turns on the mic setting everyone off cheering and screaming whilst clambering onto each others shoulders to get a better look. He finished off the set performing a few Jurassic 5 classics and back on stage without a scratch on him.
Taking on the stage the Australian hip hop, reggae and d&b beatboxer Dub FX warmed up his set alone before bringing on his band, playing an array of genres from hip hop to d&b turning up the crowds energy as the sun began to set. Across the festival site laid the impressive Where the Wild Things Are stage which was most likely the best stage we have ever seen at a festival, with three epic pyramid platforms featuring a technical mix of state of the art projection mapping this stage set the bar high. As well as that, the festival provided a giant buddha head covered in projections and lighting displays all night which made out to be a great photo opportunity for the punters. Ending the night off with a bang was the reggae/dub group Weird Together. Bursting with energy and keeping everyone on their toes with their mixed genres, the bands roots run deep from all over the world.
Starting off the second day of the festival and most importantly New Years Eve, New Zealand native group The Settlers announced their presence by providing a soulful hip hop set to mellow out everyones hangovers from the night before. With the sun not out as much as the day before and everyone recovering from the previous nights blowout the celebrations got off to a slower start and the bands vibe went hand in hand with the relaxing ambience and set the day off to the perfect start. With ticket sales up for NYE the festival site was clearly a lot busier already. We headed over to WTWTA stage to catch a set from Young Tapz, an american rapper recently signed to G.O.O.D Music. Drawing in an extensive crowd who seemed to know every one of his tracks word for word, Young Tapz clearly had his fans in the palm of his hand though out his performance.
When midnight struck at the Alpine Area an incredible firework display shot out behind the elevated stage and fire dancers emerged out on top of a fire truck and blasted the crowd into 2017 in true R&A style. The overall atmosphere throughout the whole festival was truly something special, from the upbeat and friendly festival goers to the enthusiastic Rhythm and Alps team. We have never before come across a more uplifting festival. If your ever in New Zealand and stuck for a way to celebrate new years we would highly recommend getting yourselves here!
Thank you to the whole R&A team for having us and thank you Alex.
Words: Katie Pill
Photos: Anis Ali