Raggamuffin over for another year

By Matthew Martin

Rotorua has once again embraced its annual Raggamuffin festival - proving the city is the home of reggae in New Zealand.

Even before the festival started, the city was buzzing with thousands of festivalgoers filling the central business district and lining the streets on the way to the event.

The festival featured reggae heavyweights Toots and the Maytals, Ali Campbell's UB40 and the Common Kings.

New Zealand's own The Black Seeds, Herbs and Katchafire also performed for the crowd of about 25,000.

Cloud during the hottest part of the day kept fans sheltered.

Forward-thinking locals on Devon St and Springfield Rd provided sausage sizzles and drinks stands, with some clever youngsters making a range of "rasta" toffee apples.

Rotorua barber Ant Haines said he and his friends, who had come from Auckland and Wellington for the festival, thought it was one of the best yet.

"Every year we get-together at Raggamuffin to catch up, have a hangi and get into the Raggamuffin vibe."

Mr Haines said the highlight of this year's festival were reggae legends Herbs. "Herbs was the bomb. They really knew what they were doing."

Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne said his staff were happy with the overall behaviour of the crowd.

He said Friday's Raggamuffin pre-party was a reasonably uneventful night for police, with a total of five arrests in and around the stadium. Two people were arrested for breach of the liquor ban, one for breach of bail, one for breach of the peace and one for disorderly behaviour.

He said there was a friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the stadium on Saturday.

"Nevertheless, from late afternoon security staff, ambulance officers and police increasingly had to deal with people who had drunk too much alcohol and in some cases required medical assistance."



A total of 10 arrests were made in and around the stadium on Saturday. They were primarily alcohol-related with people breaching liquor bans, becoming disorderly or needing to be taken into custody for their own wellbeing.

"It is a concern that some people seem to use these events as a chance to push the boundaries and we will continue to give thought to how we can better achieve compliance [with the liquor ban]."

Mr Horne said compliance in terms of drink- driving was good, with only a small number of people processed by the Traffic Alcohol Group, not dissimilar to a typical weekend.

Festival promotor S


andra Roberts said it was a superb mix of old and new with New Zealand's Herbs and Toots and the Maytals proving to be two of the most popular acts.


"Numbers were up from last year with 25,000 tickets sold for the Saturday and another 5000 for the Friday," she said.

"Our legends were just awesome and Lauryn Hill was amazing along with some of the new ones like the Common Kings and Rebelution.

"Now we are ready to start cracking on with next year's festival."


- Rotorua Daily Post

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