Highlights from some of New Zealand's Unique Music & Lifestyle Festivals: Volunteering, Co-creating & Dancing Backstage

It's been a busy New Zealand summer packed with action, fun & lots of chill time in between in dreamy Mount Maunganui. Traveling around and actually all over NZ's 2 beautiful main islands in our van has been such an amazing travel experience.

So simple, so much freedom, so little worries. The art of simple living is really one I'll continue to practice and take with me to wherever we go next =) 

Another one of the very highlights of this summer has been our involvement in some of the annual music, culture & lifestyle festivals which New Zealand is so famous of. Every summer, Kiwis and visitors gather for festivals of all sizes and in all regions of the country. Whether your heart beats for food, music, wine, dance, spirituality or local Maori culture rest assured there's a festival here you'll love. 

Volunteering, Co-creating & Dancing backstage

Prices to attend festivals really differs but for the biggest ones such as Splore, Womad, Northern Base or Wanderlust expect between 200-400 dollars for a festival wristband. OR simply do as we decided to do: get involved and volunteer. In this way tickets & camping is paid for by working daily shifts between 4-6 hours. And it's not as bad as it seems to be working when you're there to enjoy the music. In fact, there's more than a handful reasons for why I recommend volunteering at festivals:

  1. Ticket is FREE. Often camping is free as well and we had some snacks and meals for free!
  2. There's some really cool jobs at these festivals and if you're a bit smart you try to get involved in something where your personal skills and/or interests become relevant
  3. You get to see the "backstage" of a festival organization which can be a super cool and inspiring insight (even if you're not an event nerd like me)
  4. You might meet important people (connections connections connections)
  5. You might meet cool people (The Artist Lounge where I worked at Womad Festival was packed with people in this category)
  6. You'll definitely meet fun people and perhaps get some new friends (co-workers when volunteering are most often very nice and/or just a very interesting experience...
  7. You get a feel of "belonging-ness" and "being part of it" BUT you don't have big responsibilities or headaches (physical ones might still occur though...) downgrading your festival experience!

Oh yes volunteering and co-creating can be an awesome way to do more but spend less. This year we had great success with contacting festivals only one week before they kicked off and offering our help as "Last Minute Volunteers". In this way we didn't have to lock anything in too early on and with that decrease our degree of freedom on the road.. God forbid that...

We ended up at Splore Festival in Auckland from February 19-22, Womad Festival in New Plymouth from March 18-20 and latest we went back to Auckland for Earth Beat Festival April 1-3. Here's some highlights from these three colorful, diverse and very different festivals where we were volunteering, co-creating & dancing the weekends away!

Splore - A Summer Odyssey

Anything goes; Pohutukawa trees are shrines wrapped in multicoloured strands of wool, cinemas are powered by bicycles, a tin hut becomes a steam-punk time machine. While name-acts may rock the main stage massive, across the beach burlesque nymphs dangle from trapeze in a marquee full of midnight revelers dressed liked castaways on the island of love.

Splore is a boutique music and arts festival like no other as it literally takes place partly on a beach (!) and partly among grass fields and big trees in the Tapapakanga Regional Park. It's an incredible set-up - you can float in the ocean while watching an act on the main stage, then head to the yoga teepees for inspiring Kundalini yoga and finish of the day by getting dressed up and getting excited for one big Splore party! This year around 10.000 people got their Splore on.

A Splore state of mind sets no boundaries, sees only possibilities and is at one with nature.

The WOMAD Story

WOMAD - World of Music, Arts and Dance is a well-known international festival, which have brought together artists from all over the globe to 27 different countries since 1982. Attending WOMAD is like honoring and celebrating the world's many forms of music, arts and dance. The range of music brought to this festival from different cultures, genres and corners of the world is incredible!

My favorite was the Inuit (better known as Eskimo) originated band - The Jerry Cans - first time I ever heard Inuktitut - the language employed by the fun and talented artists in their music. Together with over 20.000 people we came across lots of other unique artists, cool events and inspiring workshops during this year's WOMAD weekend.


Earth-Beat Harvest Festival - a conscious gathering

Earth-Beat Festival is full of experiences that help us reconnect and tune to our innate ability to listen to the beat of the Earth. Harvest is a time for celebration in gratitude for the sweetness of the past summer, and to nourish ourselves in preparation for the winter.

Earth Beat is a new festival and one of the smallest we went to (1200pax this year). The mantra of earth beat is CO-CREATION and the themes are yoga, spirituality, art, music, creativity and nature. We returned to Mount Maunganui with big relaxed smiled on our faces and feeling very grounded! 

Being part of these lifestyle festivals took my New Zealand summer experience to another level. We connected with amazing people through work and the festivals in general and got so much inspiration. It also gave me great insight into the lovely, chilled and open-minded "hippie" spirit of many Kiwis. Needless to say: I love it. I aspire to take some of the vibes and the ideas with me back to Denmark for our summer 2016 and who knows - perhaps our very own world known Roskilde Festival can get it's own yoga stage in the future =)