In its second year since returning to Whaingaroa, Soundsplash 2017 was a sellout event with around 7500 tickets sold for the two-day festival, almost double the number of tickets sold for Soundsplash 2016.
As punters arrived for the festival on Friday, traffic was backed up all the way from Wainui Reserve to the Wainui Rd and Bow St intersection. Two volunteers from the Maori Wardens were on hand to control traffic.
“Traffic was backed right up but we managed to break it down,” said Maori Warden volunteer Thomas Tai Rakena, who managed all the traffic with his partner, Deidre.
“We were there all day Friday and Saturday and half the day on Sunday,” said Thomas.
“The bridge was in a bit of a state of turmoil so we didn’t even stop for a break but people were being kind and giving us food.
“We were really happy with the outcome and happy to do it for the community and the event.”
Opening night at Soundsplash saw some high energy performances from the likes of Raiza Biza, Tiki Taane and Diaz Grimm.
Festivalgoers were treated to great weather on Friday, but high winds and rain hit the event on Saturday evening. While some ran for cover, others partied under umbrellas or donned raincoats and makeshift ponchos to brave the elements.
“I had an awesome time even in the rain. It’s so nice to see locals and familiar faces working behind the scenes,” said Ariel Hughes, who attended the festival on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Headline act Six60 performed on Saturday night to a sea of people despite the stormy weather, however a number of performances on The Outsides stage were cancelled due to safety concerns regarding the wind and rain.
Continued high winds and rain saw more cancelled performances on Sunday and also caused disruptions to the cleanup effort.
While there was an extensive waste management plan in place, including the distribution of compostable bio bags as well as continuous litter sweeps, bar management, vendor education and bin station management, once the gusting winds and rain hit many festivalgoers evacuated the campsite, leaving their tents and rubbish behind.
“When the weather hit, some campers just left in their cars, leaving their tents with everything inside them including their waste, the wind just ripped the tents apart, spreading everything through the camping area,” said Xtreme Zero Waste (XZW) education officer Nenya Chapman.
Volunteers and around 80 members from the Raglan community helped with the cleanup effort at Wainui Reserve on Sunday and Monday.
“Big thanks to the members of the community that came up to help and a huge thanks to the XZW boys and management team that were on the ground. There were no complaints in the event site itself.
“We had 50 volunteers helping with waste management this year. Last year we diverted 82% from landfill and we don’t have the exact numbers yet for this year but we are aiming for the same or greater,” Nenya said.
“Also a huge thanks to Brian, Naomi and Zu Entertainment for making zero-waste a priority for the festival, Bexie Towle for her amazing skills managing the vendors and the greater Soundsplash team,” she adds.
Sergeant Neil Mouncher of Waikato Police said that there were very little issues overall, despite the large volume of people, with one assault incident occurring at the event itself.
“Everyone was very well behaved, it was a well organised event and event security were very good. The weather didn’t seem to deter people from having a good time and then Sunday there was a bit of a clean up and everyone went home.” He said.
*Images thanks to Margaret Dillon and Mark Hamilton – http://www.mhp.net.nz