Music fans have a reason to dance today with confirmation a major international festival will return to Auckland next year.

Organisers will today announce that Auckland City Limits will be held at Western Springs on March 3, with a lengthy list of international and local acts being released at 8am.

That will please those who were disappointed when the festival cancelled its 2017 event, following a successful 2016 debut attended by 25,000 that included performances by Kendrick Lamar and The National.

Promoter Campbell Smith promises a festival line-up of music, food, drink and activities that's bigger and better than the first.


"I'm happy with what we've got," he says. "I think it's going to go really well."

Smith, formerly of the Big Day Out, said he wasn't happy with how the 2017 event was shaping up and pulled it because "it wouldn't have done us justice".

"The second one (is) in many ways it's more important than the first. You constantly want to be making these things better, not just saying, 'Well, that's good enough'."

A spectator enjoys Fat Freddy's Drop at Auckland City Limits in 2016. Photo/NZH
A spectator enjoys Fat Freddy's Drop at Auckland City Limits in 2016. Photo/NZH

ACL re-enters a heated live music scene, with an international act playing, on average, every two days over the summer months, including big names like Drake, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Sia, Bruno Mars, Lorde, Mariah Carey and Harry Styles.

Read more: One big gig every two days - why summer is stuffed full of music

It also faces competition from other festivals, including New Year's events Northern Bass and Wondergarden, as well as summer festivals like Laneway, Splore and Bay Dreams.

Smith says ACL delivers a "fresher and broader" experience, with festival-goers expecting more than just watching "50 bands on a stage while eating hot dogs and chips" these days.

"It is much more about, 'What other things can I do with my day? Can I eat well? Can I take my kids? Are there other activations on the site?'" he says.

"You have to raise the bar. We have a long term vision for this. They're pretty grand ambitions but I feel pretty good about achieving them.

"This will be another step."

Earlybird tickets for ACL will cost $179.90 and go on sale on November 1. A pre-sale begins on October 30.

* For the full line-up of Auckland City Limits, visit at 8am.