Auckland City Limits returned with a vengeance yesterday, taking over Western Springs with a massive lineup, amazing food and a great atmosphere.
The festival ran for a full 12 hours and in that time, saw a crowd of 20,000 pass through the gates.
Here are our highlights - and minor lowlights - of ACL 2018:
Auckland City Limits isn't just about the music, it's there to explore and designed for you to chill, with so much space, grassy areas and trees to lay under.
Kids could run amok and have the time of their lives in a safe environment, everyone was respectful and in good spirits and unlike other festivals, it didn't seem to be about pageantry and Instagram, but more just about good times. The bands almost felt secondary to everything else that was going on. (Almost).
The layout and site plan meant there was plenty of space, it was easy to move around and there were no major bottlenecks - unlike the first ACL in 2016, where lines were unfathomable and blocked walkways making the whole festival feel a bit cramped.
Auckland Eats was amazing. Fast service, reasonably priced (for a festival) and bloody delicious. Our favourites were Cafe Hanoi's green prawns and Blue Breeze's pork buns.
Also, shout out to the girls serving at Blue Breeze who have probably woken up without voices after hilariously screaming out tickets numbers over the raucous sound of The D4 during the dinner rush. We salute you.
This was another killer lineup for ACL and one which offered a shocking amount of diversity. You could go from watching a young crowd throb with the bass at Future, across to the other side where an older crowd was gathering for Grace Jones, and pass everything from rock to electronic to whatever it is Tash Sultana does (beat boxing on panpipes!) in your travels.
Our highlights include the return of Scribe to the stage - he nailed it, despite being away from the limelight for years; The Avalanches' funk-soaked, high-energy set that defied you not to dance; Future ripping his way through Mask Off to an insane crowd and George Ezra drawing a massive crowd for a set full of hits.
Sometimes seeing such an legendary artist is worrying because you never know what you're going to get, but Grace Jones was literally everything fans could've asked for and then some. Multiple costume changes, some quality banter, all the hits, some raucous dance moves, poses being struck all over the show, pole dancing, masks, headpieces, that bodysuit, the light show, the Amazing Grace cover - all of it was, frankly, iconic.
Where are all the people?
The main Spark stages drew hundreds of fans to major sets like Future, Justice and Beck but even so those spaces weren't even close to being full. In fairness, it's no comment on the acts, so much as the fact that there's just so much space down in the stadium bowl that things started to look a little sparse. Whether the answer is adding more to the space or bringing in more people, who knows? But seeing all that blank space from the stage can't be fun.
Vomit. Just vomit.
This is no fault of the festival's other than that no one managed to clean it up before it was seared into our brains forever, but seeing puddles of vomit right by the water station is really off-putting. Come on guys, at least vomit away from the water supply, yeah?