Get ready to get down and dirty - Kiwi favourites Shapeshifter have been announced as the headlining act for the inaugural Mudtopia Festival in Rotorua.

Mudtopia Festival co-director Simon Brady said from day one the popular drum'n'bass group was on their "hit list".

"They are such a vibrant and high energy live act, which fits with the high energy of the festival itself."

The Mudtopia Festival will be held from December 1 to 3 at Rotorua's Arawa Park race course.


Mr Brady said a lot will happen at the festival, with music being one component.

"We want people to come along and experience the mud itself and engage with it in a way they haven't since they were 2 or 3 years old."

The all-ages festival will include a Mud Arena with mud pools and adult and kid attractions, Mud Games, a Mud Run and a Mud Day Spa.

It is inspired by Korea's Boryeong Mud Festival which has been held annually for the past 20 years.

The inaugural Mudtopia Festival will take place from December 1 to 3. Photo/Supplied
The inaugural Mudtopia Festival will take place from December 1 to 3. Photo/Supplied

Mr Brady said a ticket would cover most of the festival areas but some things, such as massage treatments, would mean additional costs.

Shapeshifter will perform at the R18 Saturday night Mud Stage concert, and Mr Brady said people should expect another big name to be announced, "one people well and truly know and love".

Other well-known performers Anika Moa, Hollie Smith and Jason Kerrison will perform during the daytime, adding different "genres and generations", Mr Brady said.

"There are heaps more [musical acts] to be released with the three days of scheduling. There will be emerging acts, including local Rotorua acts, announced."


Shapeshifter member Sam Trevethick was keen to check out the Mud Day Spa.

"I'll get amongst it, it'll be my first mud bath ... [Mudtopia] sounds like a lot of fun, I'm looking forward to getting down and dirty."

Trevethick produced for the band and played the keyboard, guitar and percussion. He has been a part of Shapeshifter "from the very beginning" 18 years ago.

He said it wasn't the band's first visit to Rotorua, having played about 17 years ago at Ace of Clubs.

"I love Rotorua, I've done luging and Canopy Tours and sky diving. It's nice to have an early [gig] in summer, it'll get us going. We'll be doing a bit of practice beforehand."

Mr Brady said the planning for the rest of the festival was going really well.

"We've been working on this since October where we had an unlimited number of ideas. Since then we've firmed up things and it's all in full swing."

He said the event was not only unique to Rotorua but to New Zealand.

"There will be a huge range of offerings for people that come along. If you like to give something new a go this is a fantastic opportunity."

Earlybird tickets are available from if people register before 11pm on Monday.

General admission tickets are available from 9am on Thursday, with an adult mud pass and concert going for $98.20 and a pass at $43.00.

A family pass is available and children under 4 are free.

Rotorua residents can get a 20 per cent discount when they buy their tickets with proof of ID from Thursday at a location to be announced early next week.

Mudtopia Festival
• Arawa Park race course from December 1 to 3.
• Mud pools, mud games and a day spa and musical acts, including Hollie Smith and Anika Moa.
• R18 concert on Saturday, December 2 headlined by Shapeshifter.
• Earlybird tickets available by registering at before 11pm on Monday.
• General release tickets go on sale at 9am on Thursday, with a 20 per cent discount for Rotorua locals with proof of ID. Location to be announced next week.
• Family passes available and children under 4 free.