Summer is just around the corner and what better way to kickstart the season than with a celebration? From fresh additions to beloved traditions, these festivals are sure to offer sun-soaked memories, both here in NZ and across the Ditch.
Urban BBQ Festival
Where: Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay, Kenilworth Rd, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay
When: November 18, 2023
Admission: Tickets from $37
Fire up your appetite for the Urban BBQ Festival where you’ll find a smoky selection from food vendors (including lots of free samples), get your hands on BBQ essentials, savour countless free tastings, and get top-notch BBQ tips from the pros. There’s also craft beer and wine bars, a bucking bronco, and chilli-eating competitions, as well as live music.
Taste Whanganui Festival
Where: Majestic Square, 98 Victoria Ave, Whanganui
When: December 16, 2023
Festival of Lights
When: December 16, 2023 to January 21, 2024
Where: Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
As summer graces New Plymouth, Pukekura Park bursts into a spectacle of colours with light installations, music, and performances, lighting up the central city’s much-loved public gardens, lakes and lawns. The full programme will be announced soon, so keep an eye on the website for more information.
Rhythm & Vines
Where: Waiohika Estate Vineyard, Gisborne, NZ
When: December 28, 2023 to January 1, 2024
Admission: From $365, plus booking fees
Marking its global reputation as the first festival to witness the new year’s sunrise, Rhythm and Vines returns this December to Tairāwhiti Gisborne.
This year’s headlining act is the UK drill sensation, Central Cee, celebrated for his chart-topping hit Sprinter featuring Dave. The line-up also boasts talents like Australian house music maestro Dom Dolla, electronic music artist Wilkinson, and local artists such as Gin Wigmore, Georgia Lines, Bbyfacekilla, and Park Rd.
Join in for an unforgettable end-of-year celebration set against the scenic backdrop of the Waiohika Estate Vineyard.
Rhythm & Alps
Where: Robrosa Station, Cardrona Valley, Wānaka
When: December 29, 2023 to January 1, 2024
Admission: Tickets start from $255
If you prefer your festivals to be backdropped by mountains rather than vineyards, head to the Cardrona Valley for the South Island’s premier three-day music festival. This year’s Rhythm and Alps line-up includes top Kiwi artists like BENEE, Fat Freddy’s Drop, and BICEP. The festivities culminate on December 31 with Synthony’s orchestra and fireworks. More line-up details to come.
Bridge Pa Wine Festival 2024
Where: Bridge Pa Triangle Wine District, Hastings
When: January 20, 2024
Admission: Tickets from $60
Hawke’s Bay’s premier wine festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2024 and it’s a chance to experience the finest wines from renowned wineries including Abbey Estate, Alpha Domus, Ash Ridge Winery, Oak Estate, Paritua Winery, Sileni Wines, and more. Easily hop between wineries, all located no more than 5 minutes apart, using the provided buses. Enjoy a range of activities at each venue, from wine tasting to delectable food and live music. The event is scheduled to go ahead, rain or shine.
Auckland Folk Festival
When: January 26 to 29, 2024
Where: Kumeu Showgrounds, Auckland
Auckland Folk Festival is a long-standing tradition, taking place for more than 30 years and celebrating the passion and dedication of the local folk music and dance communities. Spanning Auckland’s Anniversary weekend, the festival line-up is yet to be announced but mark it in your calendars and get your dancing shoes ready.
Auckland International Buskers Festival
When: January 26 to 29, 2024
Where: Auckland’s Waterfront
Celebrate street artistry at its finest in the heart of Auckland’s CBD. For more than two decades, Auckland has come alive with the International Buskers Festival, a staple on the Auckland Anniversary Weekend calendar. Witness impressive and outlandish performances, from wrestling and fire stunts, to acrobatics and magic.
Where: Western Springs, Auckland
When: February 6, 2024
Admission: Tickets from $197.90
The Laneway Festival returns to Aotearoa, this time taking place on Waitangi Day (which is a Tuesday in 2024 - book Monday, February 5 off too, to make it a real long weekend). The epic 2024 line-up highlights include Stormzy, Steve Lacy, Dominic Fike, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, AJ Tracey, D4VD... and many more.
Where: Hagley Park, Christchurch
When: February 24, 2024
Admission: Tickets from $179
Prep for a day of solid music — New Zealand’s most colourful music festival returns. Electric Avenue 2024 is set to dazzle Ōtautahi Christchurch’s Hagley Park with a 12-hour marathon featuring 35 artists across 4 stages. The lineup includes international headliner The Chemical Brothers, plus homegrown favourites Six60, Shapeshifter and L.A.B, as well as Britain’s Hybrid Minds, and many more. Electric Avenue Festival is strictly R18+.
Twizel Salmon & Wine Festival 2024
Where: Meridian Rowing Centre, Kate Cameron Drive, Twizel, Canterbury
When: February 24, 2024
Admission: Tickets from $35
The 18th Twizel Salmon & Wine Festival sets the summer mood on the scenic shores of Lake Ruataniwha. Dive into a day that celebrates the best of the Mackenzie District’s local produce, boutique wines and craft beers, as well as entertainment for the kids including bouncy castles and face-painting. Entry is free for those under 18, but they must register for a ticket and be accompanied by a paying adult.
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
Where: Cass Square, Hokitika, West Coast
When: March 9, 2024, from 9:30am
Admission: Earlybird tickets are $30
Looking to try something wildly unique? Located on the West Coast, the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival invites brave foodies to sample everything from crocodile bites to possum pies. The entertainment line-up is yet to be announced but you can expect live music, comedy, and the annual Feral Fashion show as part of the festivities. Join the celebration and discover the wild side of NZ cuisine.
WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance)
Where: Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Park, New Plymouth, Taranaki
When: March 15 to 17, 2024
Admission: Tickets from $100 up to $3000, depending on package
Celebrating its 21st year in New Zealand, award-winning WOMAD – World of Music, Arts, and Dance - honours the world’s diverse cultures and artistic expressions.
WOMAD NZ, supported by WOMAD UK and various local entities, began its journey in Taranaki in 2003, and its stages have since hosted vibrant cultural performances from artists both global and local.
Eight-time Grammy Award-winner Ziggy Marley will headline the 2024 festival , with many more artists due to be announced for the eight stages. Watch multicultural performances, try ethnic foods at the Global Village, participate in workshops, cooking demos, and more. Families will love the Kidzone.
For more information and tickets visit womad.co.nz
Where: Wellington Waterfront, Wellington, NZ
When: March 16, 2024
Returning to Wellington Waterfront, Jim Beam Homegrown celebrates Kiwi music at its best. Spread across five stages, the festival showcases 45 of Aotearoa’s top artists from genres like reggae, roots, hip-hop, and more. L.A.B, Stan Walker, Blindspott, Bic Runga, Sons of Zion, Teeks, and Ladi6 are just some of the names on the 2024 line-up. With carnival rides, diverse food stalls, and a unique free-flow stage system, attendees can enjoy the festivities while exploring the capital. Embracing a spirit of aroha (love) and respect, this is the must-attend event of New Zealand’s summer music season.
Marlborough Wine Festival
Where: Renwick Domain, Uxbridge Street, Renwick, Marlborough
When: Saturday 10 February, 2024
If that sounds a little too energetic for your weekend, hop across the Cook Straight and into the heart of New Zealand’s wine heritage for the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival. As the country’s longest-standing wine and food event, this festival brings together Marlborough’s world-renowned wines, sumptuous local cuisine, and music, all set amidst the stunning landscapes of the region. Sip on award-winning wines paired with dishes curated by renowned chefs, capturing the essence of Marlborough.
For more details, visit: marlboroughwinefestival.com
Earth Beat Festival
When: March 20 to 24, 2024
Where: Kaipara, Auckland
As 2024′s Equinox rolls around, celebrate, connect, and dance the days away. Pioneering and independent, Earth Beat Festival is a family-friendly camping wonderland that’s open to everyone. A range of live music is on offer, from electronic, dub, house, and folk to techno, reggae, and world, as well as workshops, comedy shows, poetry, a Kids Activity Zone and Youth-led Festival Zone. Fun for all the family.
Where: Founders Heritage Park, Nelson
When: April 6, 2024
It might be called Marchfest, but in 2024 it’s taking place in April. Regardless of the date, you’ll find a festival where craft beer celebration meets music, education, and family-friendly fun in Nelson, New Zealand’s craft beer capital. Highlights of the 16th annual festival will include exclusive brews from 150 local breweries, regional cuisines and beer/food pairings, live music and activities for kids. And if you’re not a beer drinker, wines, ciders and non-alcoholic options will be on offer too.