A small team spent a year producing a "warts and all" insight into the country's longest running music festival, Rhythm and Vines.

The four-part documentary by Belinda Henley and Phill Prendeville, titled The Road to Rhythm, is to be released next Thursday.

It has been produced by NZME with funding from NZ on Air and follows three different yet interchangeable storylines; the story of the 2017/2018 festival, and the 15-year history, as well as a group of girls from Auckland who attend the festival.

"We go between those three things throughout the documentary so that was one of the things which made it incredibly difficult to figure out how to piece all that together."


The first Rhythm and Vines Festival was held in 2003, since then the three-day festival has boasted headliners such as Moby, LCD Soundsystem, and Chance The Rapper. Taking place in the wineries of coastal town Gisborne, it is the first festival in the world to see the new year's sunrise.

The project began early last year, after event co-founder Hamish Pinkham granted Henley access.

"It came about because Hamish Pinkham is an old friend of mine so I guess I've always had a real interest in the back story and the stuff that went on behind the scenes that you didn't really hear about.

"They weren't ready to tell it. Phill and I said right from the start that if you're going to do this you've got to be really honest with us. This is not a promotional video and there has been times when some of the content has been difficult for them to watch."

Although it got off to a rather unplanned start, when one of the main characters, who was sick, deteriorated and they had to act quickly.

"We had to scramble to get down to Gisborne literally the next day and interview him before he died because we knew he would be one of the pivotal characters in the documentary.

"It was quite a stressful and emotional time and it was amazing that the family and the people around him let us have access to him for something that he really wanted to do."

Pinkham said there was a lot to "pack in after 15 years" but that it was "nice to lift the hood on the festival".

"Looking back it has been a hell of a roller coaster but it has been a big success and it is fantastic the festival can live on. It is great to see some coverage on our history."

Last month it was announced Live Nation had purchased the festival.

"It's been a nice closing of the circle for us and I guess it is a chance for us after 15 years to look back on how far we've come and tell about our success and some of the tough times leading up to this buoyant part."