Rhythm and Vines is a 3 day international music festival held in Gisborne, New Zealand on December 29-31 each year. It is the first festival in the world to welcome in the first sunrise of the new year.
The festival was founded in 2003 by University of Otago friends Hamish Pinkham, Tom Gibson, and Andrew Witters. They wanted to hold an event for their university friends to celebrate the New Year in a safe and beautiful location where they would be entertained by up-and-coming and established New Zealand musicians. The festival has been held each year at Waiohika Estate, originally Witters’ family home, but now run as a full time event centre by the Rhythm Group.
IN THE BEGINNING
The first festival had one performance stage, featuring headliners The Black Seeds, and was attended by 1800 guests. In 2004 a second stage was added, and 5,500 people attended, with Salmonella Dub as the headline act. The 2005 event featured Fat Freddy’s Drop, and a new Rhythm stage arena was opened up on site. The 2006 festival had four stages, featuring the festival’s first overseas headliner Mylo, with New Young Pony Club headlining in 2007, entertaining a crowd of 15,000 people.]
THE MOVE TO 3 DAYS
2008 was a big year of change, with Rhythm and Vines expanding to a three-day event, which allowed the organisers to contract bands on the international touring circuit. This was large factor in making the 2008–2009 festival line-up the strongest yet by far, with many renowned international acts on the bill including Franz Ferdinand, Public Enemy, and Carl Cox. Accommodation for the festival was mostly provided by BW Summer Festival, a seven-day camping festival that has featured bands such as Flume, Kora, and State of Mind.
2010 saw Rhythm and Vines sell-out for the first time as a 3 day festival, hosting international acts such as N.E.R.D, Netsky, Chase & Status, Chromeo, Justice, Flying Lotus & Tinie Tempah along with New Zealand acts Shihad and The Naked and Famous, with a record breaking, capacity crowd of 25,000. The festival was crowned Best Event at the NZ Tourism Awards. In 2012, the festival celebrated it’s 10th Anniversary, hosting the likes of Tame Impala, The Presets and Mark Ronson, following it up with Rudimental, Wiz Khalifa and Empire of the Sun in 2013.
A NEW DAWN
In 2014, in a bold move, Rhythm and Vines introduced Arcadia Spectacular, giving the R&V audience a taste of Glastonbury's fire-breathing stage. In 2015, motorcross riders were jumping across the main Vines stage, while the introduction of Comedy via Giggle and Vines had people in stitches at the Old Mout Cider Shack. While continuing to do what Rhythm and Vines does, that is bringing to Gisborne some of the world's best live acts, Rhythm also continues to innovate in the complete, overall festival experience. No wonder 11% of all ticket sales are from an international audience and the festival continues to evolve and attract new audiences globally.
Fast forward to 2017, tickets sold out faster than ever before. By September 3 Day GA Festival Passes had officially sold out only a month after the first lineup release which included international headliners ScHoolboy Q, 2ManyDJs, Baauer, Mura Masa, Big Shaq and A-Trak while seeing the return of Netsky, Sub Focus and Wilkinson. 2017 saw the erection of the new Garden Stage which replaced the previous Discovery Stage. Located on the house lawn, the Garden Stage replaced the Discovery Stage and hosted local bands such as Yukon Era, Balu Bridaga, Black White Dynamite, Soaked Oats and High HOOPS. Rhythm and Vines continues to push the boundaries in creating a world class festival that showcases top international talent while supporting emerging Kiwi talent.