NZ Local TimeTuesday, 16 Jan 201812:04:34 PM
My Soundsplash 07 Eco Reggae Festival postcard, from Wainui Reserve – Raglan, New Zealand
Comment by josh — March 10, 2007 @ 1:46 pm
Every summer, Wainui Reserve in Raglan hosts Soundsplash, an eco minded reggae festival. Soundplash features dub and reggae bands from New Zealand, as well as international acts. Wainui Reserve (featured in a post here) is a beautiful nature reserve on an awesome beach, and has room for thousands of festival goers to camp and enjoy two days of laid back music, with artists performing on both a main stage and a smaller second stage. All this, while trying to have as little of a negative impact on the environment as possible. Soundsplash had great recycling teams, and planned to recycle 90% of all waste from the festival, while requiring vendors to use recyclable products and setting up the festival in a way to minimize the fingerprint it would leave on the nature reserve.
Dub has become the unofficial music of New Zealand, perfect grooves for a laid back island nation. Dub originated in the 60s and is a form or reggae music, basically consisting of reggae being mixed up or “dubbed” by a DJ, or reggae acts that feature a DJ dubbing tracks over the band on the fly. The abundance of DJs in New Zealand, along with several home grown reggae/dub acts has led to a marriage of the two styles, and from this has grown a great New Zealand dub scene, and a love for the chilled out music among the Kiwis (and travelers). Every summer there are a number of dub / reggae festivals (one can almost use the two terms synonymously here) around the country. Several local acts travel and hit up most or all of the festivals.
I got interested in dub and reggae after a visit to Jamaica in 2005, so when I saw all the reggae festivals popping up in New Zealand, I wanted to make sure I got to at least one of them. Beth has been working weekends, so I got my Soundsplash ticket and headed to Raglan by myself. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was way cooler than I had imagined. I would guess there were about 20,000 people in attendance, and there was room for everyone to camp on the hills overlooking the beach. Once inside the festival fences, there were two stages set up and bands or DJs playing at both stages non-stop until the early morning. There were also merch and food tents all over. My favorite was a mussels stand that cooked mussels, scallops, and giant prawns in front of you – a perfect midnight snack.
Overall, the festival was awesome. It’s hard to complain when your day starts off with swimming in the ocean, then you listen to great music all day, and finish up with a plate of giant prawns at 4 in the morning. Here is some info on some of the acts that were at the festival:
Mad Professor is the reason I chose this festival over the others. He is one of the grandfather’s of dub, based in the UK and has been releasing music since the 70s. He did a remix of a Massive Attack album (non reggae) that is really good. The Professor was great, and I got to see him again the following week at a university bar (shadows) right behind our apartment.
(Mad Professor @ Amazon)
Dub Syndicate is another international dub act featured at Soundsplash. Besides taking three hours to set up and sound check, they were great.
(Dub Syndicate @ Amazon)
The Black Seeds
The Black Seeds were my favorite New Zealand dub act at the festival. They have a lot of band members on stage, and their sound is a mix of funk, dub, and reggae. On a side note, a former member of The Black Seeds played Figwit the elf in The Lord of the Rings movies.
(The Black Seeds @ Amazon)
Kora is another New Zealand reggae act. They play most all of the festivals and have a large New Zealand following. They are more straight up reggae than dub, although the terms here in New Zealand are a bit synonymous… didn’t I say that already?
Katchafire is an eight-piece Kiwi reggae band. They started as a Bob Marley tribute, so you can imagine what they sound like.
(Katchafire @ Amazon)
Shapeshifter is one of New Zealand’s most internationally famous acts. They play mainly house / drum n bass. Not really my thing, but a lot of people like them, and were at Soundsplash to see Shapeshifter.
(Shapeshifter @ Amazon)
Batucada Sound Machine
A roots band from New Zealand, playing Brazilian and Latino type roots grooves, these guys were awesome. They put on a great show featuring lots of percussion and a great dance vibe.
(Batucada Sound Machine website)
These guys played at the smaller stage, and were great. They aren’t a dub act, but more of a progressive jam band with Maori vocals. The lead singer was previously in Fat Freddie’s Drop, New Zealand’s most popular dub act, but they don’t play in New Zealand that often. Fat Freddie is great (and Beth’s favorite), and I would recommend their CD to anyone.
(Fat Freddie’s Drop @ Amazon)
The photo above was taken with a disposable camera, and then developed straight to CD. Then I made it into a postcard looking thing for Soundsplash in Photoshop. I thought the shot was surreal, and a good depiction of my feelings for the weekend.
Comment by josh — March 10, 2007 @ 5:33 pm
On a side note, I have finally changed the URL for this site. The original URL was set up in a hurry, and I always planned to change it, but it took me a while to think up a name I was happy with. I settled on http://focus.circulargenius.com and like it’s duality, and also think it will be useful in the future if I decide to sell contact lenses online. The old links should still work.
Comment by josh — March 11, 2007 @ 6:38 pm
Okay so I was wrong. To anyone accessing the site through the old URL without the trailing slash, people were getting an error page. Duh. And I wondered why traffic had been slow. I have kindof fixed it now. Let me know if anyone is still having troubles.
Comment by Chris Nowell — March 15, 2007 @ 12:54 pm
Hi hope your having fun.
Comment by Sheryl — March 16, 2007 @ 2:34 am
Josh its sound like a great festival. I loved the reggae music when I was in Jamacia. It is too bad Bethany couldn’t go.
Comment by avaleigh — December 21, 2007 @ 1:42 am
Have you heard that the hottest reggae singer Ava leigh who’s worked with the famous Sly n Robbie, Nick Manasseh, and future cut has free music you can download at http://www.avaleigh.co.uk ?check it out.
Comment by starky — March 22, 2009 @ 5:44 pm
just wondering if yous are gearing up for next summer we are a 7 piece reggae band from wangas keen as to jam releasein ep in may jamed with shem ruia blackseeds
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