With many of New Zealand's festivals being sold to big international companies, two local men are flying the flag for independent and unique events.

Gerry Paul and Paul Brown are the visionary force behind Coastella, a rapidly-growing music festival held on the Kāpiti Coast, now in its fourth year.

The pair joined forces with another festival organiser - Johnny Gibson of Christchurch's Nostalgia festival - and the three are sharing skills and resources to keep their events innovative and successful without selling out to big corporations.

Paul and Brown started Coastella after putting on a successful concert with New Zealand band Trinity Roots at Paraparaumu's Tuatara Brewery.


Audience members said they loved having cultural entertainment and arts on their back doorstep, and after a brainstorming session over a few beers, Coastella was born, Paul said.

"We sat down and made a wish list of who we'd love to get to our festivals and who we'd love to introduce to our audience," he said.

"It's an ever-evolving list and sometimes it takes a few years for the stars to align, but we're really delighted about the acts we managed to secure."

After talking to Gibson, they found that they shared many of the same values - creative collaboration, event sustainability and uniting communities.

All three agree their collaborative arrangement is crucial for both festivals to survive in a highly competitive music event market.

"In 2018 New Year's Eve festival Rhythm & Vines was sold to Live Nation, the
world's largest live music company. Similarly, Wellington's Jim Beam Homegrown relies on a huge alcohol sponsor to keep it afloat," Paul said.

"Coastella and Nostalgia are staunchly independent, which allows [us] to spend more time on creating boutique festival experiences for punters and musicians."

Attracting international acts is one of the challenges faced by Coastella and Nostalgia, but working together enables both to make it more worthwhile for overseas artists to make the trip to New Zealand.


Music programmer Paul works closely with international artists to ensure their time in the country is a unique and worthwhile experience, but he says organisers also value the importance of including local and emerging artists in the festival line-up.

This year both Coastella and Nostalgia will host Australian acts Mama Kin Spender and C.W Stoneking, along with the renowned Kiwi band that started it all a few years back, Trinity Roots. They will also feature performances by up-and-coming NZ groups The Beths, The Milltones and Soaked Oats.

Coastella will be held on Saturday February 23 at Southward's Car Museum grounds in Paraparaumu. For further information and tickets visit www.coastella.co.nz