The first night of Childish Gambino's unique Pharos festival experience is being described as an "amazing" experience - but some punters are raising health and safety concerns over the long queues and loud noise.

Little was known before last night about the mysterious festival, which has been staged once before in Joshua Tree, California, and this weekend takes place at Tapapakanga Regional Park, south of Auckland.

The main stage of Pharos took place inside a giant inflatable dome, in which Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) himself performed his main set.

Attendees told the New Zealand Herald that despite long queues to enter the dome, and sound being too loud inside, the festival was overall a success.


"It was pretty spectacular," says punter Mikhal Norris. "I can't even describe how cool it looked. The inside of the dome had some kind of projector system, and it showed heaps of natural things like coral - but then the coral moved into these crazy dancing humans - and then there was fires, rivers, caves.

"It was like being in (Glover's) brain or his art space. I've never ever seen anything like it. Every single person was looking up at the dome all night and catching glimpses of him, it was pretty amazing."

Norris says the only things she'd fault Pharos on would be the "monster of a queue," which was due to the staggered entry system, and the sound inside the dome.

"You had to go through two layers of doors, so you open one door, and 10 of you would go in, and then they'd close the door behind you and then you'd go in to the room after that," she says. "I assume they needed to do that to keep the pressure to keep the thing inflated.

"I did overhear some of the (staff) saying they're gonna make sure that's not the case the next two nights," she says. "Inside, it was so loud. In an, 'I wish I brought my earplugs, or I'm gonna go outside and have a break' way."

Norris says Gambino's performance was "amazing".

"He just danced and sang the whole time. It didn't look like he ran out of energy, it was pretty awesome."

Overall, Norris describes the vibe as "comfortable".


"There were no creepy guys, no one vomiting in the corner," she says. "You couldn't bring water or beer or anything into the dome either, so it was just people for those two to three hours."

Another punter, Leroy Beckett, says the dome was the most impressive thing about Pharos, along with Gambino's performance.

"(The dome) was overwhelming in the best way, loud and bright with amazing graphic projections and lasers," he says. "A lot of the crowd seemed to appreciate the no-phones rule, if only because it meant they could see better. Some of us just found it annoying.

"(Gambino's) a very intense and charismatic performer, and it's very cool he chose to put it on here."

Beckett says the queues "weren't fun," particularly as everyone was leaving - but "everyone was in good spirits," he says. The sound was also "completely overwhelming loud," he says, and that he "would definitely recommend earplugs to anyone going."

Punter Phoebe Fletcher shared on Twitter that she was concerned about the health and safety of the event, particularly as fans weren't allowed water in the dome.


"Loved #pharos but a huge amount of health and safety issues," she wrote. "Expect to queue for up to 2 hrs then be in a race for 7 toilets with thousands of people."

Pharos continues tonight and tomorrow.