The New Zealanders are a pretty relaxed bunch and their musical style can most accurately be represented by the legendary reggae – dub band Fat Freddy’s Drop.
Like everything in New Zealand, the band is made up of a fusion style between European and Maori. Fat Freddy’s can perhaps be credited with being the creators of the dub style and it evolved from a bunch of guys just jamming and combining Jazz, Blues, Roots and… believe it or not, techno.
When they play live, these guys just make it up as they go along, improvising on lyrics and employing a loop style that has become so popular today.
They have been on the go for 13 years, touring the festival scene in New Zealand and Australia, but were propelled into world limelight in 2003 with their smash hit Midnight Marauders.
There are plenty of small time gigs in New Zealand, but the festival scene is sketchy with many events being organized on the fly.
The first festival to merit its definition was The Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival in 1973 a d this was followed up by the Nambassa event in 1979. You will have to get used to the Maori names of things, it was held in the Golden Valley, just north of the Maori town of Waihi.
As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of smaller scale events that feature jazz, folk and indigenous Maori music that also feature modern takes on the native style. The New Zealanders also borrow from their neighbors to the West in Australia and organize The Big Day Out, but it is not regular and is just organized on a whim and when things permit.
Occasionally, the Sweetwaters Festival is also put on, but there is no concrete date and it literally just depends on whether there are enough people to play at it and organize it.