Over Easter I had the opportunity to play and help out with the sound team at Autumn Arena Festival near Omaru. Made extra special as my 2 kids were able to join me and participate in their first Festival.
Four days, three nights, two tents, one amazing time! With a five-hour drive and a stop off in Dunedin where everything was closed for good Friday, except Starbucks, my daughter Willow was delighted. After frappachinos, I found some ‘Lime Scooters’ and let the nervous kids have an ‘against the rules’ ride. We arrived at the festival with just enough time to pitch tents before dark. Once we were setup we walked off to the main area, and as we walked everyone started howling, seemingly a form of communication between scattered groups… we knew we were no longer in Southland! Then a random someone stopped us and pointed, and there, was a massive red full moon rising on the horizon, we had made it.
The rest of the Festival followed this same serendipitous flow, it did not take long for the kids to make friends and run around the festival for the next 3 days in bare feet, we would meet up whenever the food bell rang as we joined the line for a wonderful selection of whole food goodness that fueled our adventures.
I played an hour set of electronic/rap/dance/yoga on the main stage, while people were either participating, or onlooking with interest. The organizer Pete had told me he wanted unique performances, and I think my combination fit the bill! The following day, when an act pulled out, I borrowed someone’s acoustic guitar and jumped up for an hour surprise set of originals, which balanced out my electronic music of the day before nicely.
The rest of the festival was spent dancing with my kids, on the sound desk, helping with main stage, and chilling in the jam space where anything and everything goes. Autumn Area is an alternative festival full of fire spinning, smiling faces, no alcohol, a bit of nudity, all great things for a family adventure - helping my kids see the world in a new way and find their own freedom to explore this new world in a safe way.
Thanks once again to Pete for organizing this festival, to Gary and Betsy who managed the sound team, as well as everyone else who helped or attended the festival for making it such a wonderful long weekend.