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

The Others Way: An Auckland music festival that's 'a little bit out of control'

The Phoenix Foundation, one of the 43 bands on the bill for tonight's The Others Way festival in Auckland.
The Phoenix Foundation, one of the 43 bands on the bill for tonight's The Others Way festival in Auckland.

Ben Howe admits he has a hard time saying no.

That's why his "accidental" Auckland music festival The Others Way has ballooned from last year's 30 acts to the more than 40 that will play tonight's event.

"It's gotten a little bit out of control - there are probably too many acts." says Howe. "It's just too hard to say no sometimes."

The former Laneway promoter started the festival last year on the back of two international acts who planned to tour around the same time.

When they cancelled, Howe says he decided to hold the festival anyway using only up and coming local acts with a few more established bands thrown into the mix.

The 1500-odd tickets quickly sold out, bands and punters had a great time, and Howe says it was "so successful last year we just decided to do it again".

Among the 43 acts performing at 10 venues on and around Auckland's K Rd this year are more familiar names like King Loser, Cut Off Your Hands, Shocking Pinks, David Kilgour and The Phoenix Foundation.

But Howe says the festival's lesser known acts are just as important.

Tonight's bill includes a performance by high school band Courtney Hate, and he's picking Kane Strang and Peach Milk to go on and do big things.

For Howe, who also runs the nearby Flying Out record store and record label Arch Hill, programming a line-up featuring acts on the cusp of something is its biggest appeal.

"You're always looking, always got your eyes out. That's the most fun part of the job ... it is about the launch pad."


Tonight's line-up for The Others Way music festival.
Tonight's line-up for The Others Way music festival.

Howe doesn't advise trying to see every single one of the 43 acts. Rather, he suggests picking and choosing what you'd like to see, listening to what other festival-goers are talking about and choosing a few random acts along the way.

"It's very much based around discovering new music. Most people get here bang on 7.30pm when it starts," he says. "You basically zoom around and try and see what you're interested in seeing."

If you're in one of the 43 acts on the bill, Howe has a word of advice for you: bring your A-game.

That's because the festival's timing - on the same weekend as the Going Global music summit - means top record label reps and booking agents from overseas will attend some of the shows.

"There are 30 odd people from the US, Australia and Europe that are all here at the same time," says Howe.

"Aldous Harding got an American booking agent after playing last year. Fazerdaze had two or three labels interested ... Kane strang signed a record deal as well.

"There are opportunities. They do (need to play well) but if you make it a fun party, everyone's havng a good time and it's a good vibe, everyone plays well."

Fazerdaze, one of the artists performing at tonight's festival The Others Way.
Fazerdaze, one of the artists performing at tonight's festival The Others Way.

What: The Others Way festival
Where and when: Tonight at 10 venues around Auckland's K Rd
Who: 43 acts including King Loser, Cut Off Your Hands, David Kilgour and The Phoenix Foundation
More information: www.flyingout.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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