Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

Promoters say The Block Party is here to stay

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will headline Auckland hip-hop festival The Block Party in May.
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will headline Auckland hip-hop festival The Block Party in May.

The promoters of an all-new hip-hop festival in Auckland are confident their line-up of veteran hip-hop acts will deliver.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony were this week confirmed as headliners for The Block Party, on on May 20 at ASB Showgrounds, along with Twista, Mobb Deep, Tha Dogg Pound and DJ Quik. Kiwi acts on the bill include Che Fu and the Krates, Tomorrow People, PNC and Times x Two.

Hip-hop shows in New Zealand have been plagued with issues, from acts failing to show or struggling with visas. The Game failed to show at Raggamuffin and Tyler, the Creator was banned by Immigration NZ from entry after being named for Eminem's Rapture in 2014.

But The Block Party promoters Mitch Lowe and Kane Hawkins, from Talk Later, say they have the experience to deliver on their festival promises.

"We were the first company to tour Bizzy Bone outside of America. We pulled off Mobb Deep nationwide. We had Ginuwine for the first time in our country, as well as T-Pain selling out shows nationwide," the pair told TimeOut. "We work with some great, trustworthy agents to make this all possible and we do everything in our power to make sure we deliver."

Their aim, they say, is to deliver rare performances from classic acts and if anything does go wrong, Lowe and Hawkins promise they'll "spare no expense" to rectify the situation.

New York hip-hop duo Mobb Deep. Photo / Supplied
New York hip-hop duo Mobb Deep. Photo / Supplied

"We are not here to rip anyone off, and we truly believe our fans know and trust that now."

The R18 event is billed as "a full-scale indoor festival but with outdoor festival qualities" with two stages, food stalls, chill-out areas and merchandise tents.

The promoters say more acts could be announced, hinting: "we may have something up our sleeve".

They're also confident it will become an annual event, saying they're already in talks with potential headliners for 2017.

- TimeOut

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