Homegrown 2019 – Full festival review and photos

Homegrown 2019 – Full festival review and photos

Homegrown 2018 – New Zealand’s classic gig. The one ride that lasts for all ages. She was on again and did not disappoint.

WORDS BY KJ PANUI PHOTOS BY NICHOLE DAVIS


Wellington’s waterfront was again the host of around 42 bands over five stages. The sun was shining, the Hawaiian shirts and glitter were out in full swing.

This year’s Homegrown had the added presence of the ‘Homegrown Pre-party’, consisting of five gigs playing the night before, including my faves Katchafire (insert marriage symbol here). The great thing about New Zealand music is as it ages, it doesn’t fade, it just gets a whole lot stronger.

And this added gig did not disappoint – just what you need before heading into an 8-hour festival.

Saturday saw the capital alive some fantastic attire. Double brown apparel, ridiculous facial hair, some brilliant glittery bodies and the look of some hardcore lovers of New Zealand music. One of my own crew had fully covered herself in glitter…it was not the same way by the end of the night.

What you have to do when going to a festival that consists of five stages of the best of the best is plan ahead. You need to decide who you are going to see, where they will be and when they are playing. If that means you are going to have to cut a few friends with the hopes of catching them for a ride home then so be it.

These are standard rules of Homegrown.

My own schedule was SWIDT, Che Fu & The Krates, Chores, Tiki Taane, Katchafire, Skinny Hobos, Sons of Zion, Mitch James, Kora, Elemeno P, Devilskin and Shapeshifter and Blindspott. That included the cross-over of many stages, and the waterfront was not an easy walk in between.

Not one to be fashionably late, the numerous compulsory Homegrown beverages caught me off guard so only got to the waterfront at the end of Tiki Taane. I’ve seen him before and he was still great. The way he strums is metallic and with soul. Or maybe that was the wine kicking in.

Between each band you see the crowd shuffle in a wave of determination. ‘The next gig is coming up and I want to be at the front’ is on everyone’s minds. We were lucky enough to get a good spot at the Dub and Roots stage to see Katchafire.

The horrific events from the week before were on most of the performer’s minds. Katchafire paid tribute to Christchurch by singing the national anthem. You also know at their gigs, it was standard to replace oxygen with the smell of marijuana. This could possibly be the reason why we sang the anthem three times. It was a super chill vibe and we were all high on life.

We were lucky enough to get right to the front. I did a plug for Music Nation by showing an article I wrote when I interviewed Leon Davey and took a selfie with him. They called the last song around 3-4 times, and finished strong with “Collie Herb Man”. They will always have a place as one of the greatest reggae bands of New Zealand. Them and Kora.

Sons and Zion were up next. We stayed for a couple of hits. The crowd had a good bop going. There were people on shoulders, and the security crew losing their shizzle. We decided we needed to drink some water and get some fresh air so made our way to the LAB stage to check out Mitch James.
He is a fresh face that has become quite well known over the last two years. It was the scene of a single sexy heartthrob playing his guitar to a lot of young infatuated ladies. He made Justin Bieber look like Elvis in his downward spiral.

He played hits “21”, “Bright blue skies”, “All the ways to say goodbye” and“No fixed above”. My fave was when he got the crowd singing along to a cover or Robbie Williams “Angels”.

From there it was the City stage for Elemeno P. I thought Katchafire was great, but these guys rocked it. They looked solid in their all-white get-up. The crowd sang along to every song. These guys were definitely a highlight. Especially “Urban getaway”…god that brought me back.

Now we all know it happened, and it ended up being our downer to the night. The evacuation. Our plan was to go check out Shapeshifter to end on a high. As we were walking over we were told the crowd was evacuated due to a weird guy. Turns out he wasn’t weird, he just had some weird tattoos. But that could go for a lot of people I am sure.

We headed back to Blindspott. We had our one minute silence at 9:25pm and then the boys started up. I wasn’t there but sounds like NZ great Dave Dobbyn paid an amazing tribute with a whole lot of other amazing performers.

And after that, it was over. 40,000 steps walked, some memories made, some great music heard. It is one day of the year that really makes you appreciate being a New Zealander and having beautiful friends to experience the opportunity.

Bring on Homegrown 2020!

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