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

Auckland City Limits will return 'bigger and better' than ever

Next year's City Limits will be held on Saturday, March 11. Photo / Chris Loufte
Next year's City Limits will be held on Saturday, March 11. Photo / Chris Loufte

Festival fans have cause to celebrate - Auckland's biggest music event is coming back for round two.

Auckland City Limits, the day-long festival which hosted 25,000 fans at Western Springs Stadium for its March debut, will be back in 2017, organisers have confirmed to TimeOut.

"I never had any doubt we'd be back," says promoter Campbell Smith. "When you commit to doing one, you've got to be in it for the long haul."

Next year's event will be held on Saturday, March 11.

Smith is promising an eclectic musical line-up along with expanded food and drink options, the return of VIP bars, art installations and a stage dedicated to the kids.

"They're definitely all coming back and those are probably the things I want to expand on," he says, promising a "bigger and better" experience for punters.

There are also some "tweaks" coming to the site's layout, with Smith admitting they didn't get everything right first time around.

Some audience members complained of lengthy queues forming later in the day.

"Bar queues were a bit too long for us, and the audience, but that's not hard to fix," he says.

Headlined by Kendrick Lamar, The National and Fat Freddy's Drop, ACL's debut appeared to go off without a hitch.

But Smith has revealed several stresses going on behind-the-scenes.

Firstly, a storm forecast to hit the region never eventuated.

"I was surprised that didn't arrive," Smith says.

The last act to play, acclaimed rapper Lamar, was late to arrive on stage. Smith says that was because his computer wouldn't work.

Kendrick Lamar headlined at Auckland City Limits music festival at Western Springs, Auckland this year. Photo / Chris Loufte
Kendrick Lamar headlined at Auckland City Limits music festival at Western Springs, Auckland this year. Photo / Chris Loufte

"Kendrick's ProTools not working for half an hour was a little bit stressful," he admits.

For now, the promoter is keeping busy signing the festival's headliners, details of which will be kept under wraps until the first wave of acts is announced in October.

There could be clues from ACL's parent festival, Austin City Limits, which is being headlined by Radiohead, Mumford & Sons, LCD Soundsystem and Major Lazer.

But Smith won't be drawn on details, saying his line-up has little to do with what happens in Austin because the festivals are months apart.

"There are a few critical components you need to get in place that makes the rest of the bill flow, and that's what we're working on now," he says.

"Having random acts is really important [and] a few key acts are already in there ... Nothing is worrying me. It's all on schedule."

- TimeOut

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