The problem with The Block Party is while the acts were excellent, everything else was plagued with problems.

As I arrived at the ASB Showgrounds in Epsom, the lines were snaking out of the main gate, and people were noticeably irritated.

Their annoyance grew when they got inside and had to line up again because the doors weren't open yet.

Not only that, but everyone had to line up to load money on to their wrist bands in order to buy food or drinks, but these lines were even longer and slower moving.


It wasn't until about three or four hours after the festival started that the lines began to dissipate.

Things got so bad that new lines started at the vending machines as people preferred to queue for a Coke and a chocolate bar rather than waiting to load their wrist bands.
There were two stages set up - the main one for the drawcard acts and the Aotearoa stage for the local acts. Both ran behind schedule, leading to a lot of standing/sitting around and a lot of people getting antsy.

And the problem with having all the main acts on one stage was that the local acts on the Aotearoa stage were often playing to only a handful of people, which was a shame because they seemed to be on form - the Tomorrow People were a notable highlight, drawing one of the bigger crowds at that stage for a set full of reggae hits.

Back at the main stage, the key issue was that it was inside a concrete warehouse, so unless you were standing in front, the sound echoed and distorted. Even in front the sound sometimes blew out - particularly when the four present members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony were all on the mic at the same time.

The other problem was that a bunch of audience members were smoking both cigarettes and drugs, essentially hot-boxing the room and making for an unpleasant environment for everyone else.

But, all that said and done, the acts were incredible.

Each and every one of them smashed through their crowd-pleaser hits, kept a high energy and really delivered.

However, it was less of a hip-hop festival and more of a "Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - and friends" show.

The headliners were clearly the major drawcard for most, and they performed their huge hits like 1st of Tha Month, Paper, and Thuggish Ruggish Bone to massive applause.

Conclusion: Great music, but not so great an overall experience.