Wednesday, February 08, 2006


The 2006 eco reggae festival, Soundsplash, took place at Wainui Reserve, Raglan, from 4-5 February. This festival is organised by the Motherland Collective, and has a zero-waste goal and a strong focus on environmental preservation. This year’s theme was recycling which was very much apparent by the decorations and sculptures at the venue. The Motherland Collective are dedicated to "...promotion, performance and forward movement of roots based music in Aotearoa".

This was the third Soundsplash festival to take place, and during this time it has gone from strength to strength, in both its organisation and musical line up. This year the reggae massive had the privilege to see Big Youth, Third World, and DJ Earl Gateshead (Trojan Soundsystem) along with a multitude of the best reggae, roots, dancehall and dub musicians and DJs in New Zealand.

The festival had a good turn-out of around 5000 people - a nice amount of people for the venue to accommodate. With its natural amphitheatre-like setting, ample parking and camping space and close proximity to the ocean, Wainui Reserve is the perfect setting for such an event. Along with two stages - the main-stage and the heavyweight zone - there were numerous food and local art and craft stalls, plus much needed chill out zones set amongst the grounds.

The international acts of course drew much attention. Legendary Jamaican DJ, Big Youth, was accompanied by Earl Gateshead and the two made a killer combination - Gateshead dropping the heaviest of conscious selections, backed by the classic voice and beautiful vibes of Big Youth. Third World were the last act of the festival and also did not disappoint. They performed classic tunes and showcased some superb musicianship, leaving no one wondering why they are known as one of the worlds top reggae bands. Big Youth made another appearance on the mic before the end of their set and also displayed more of his memorable foot work.

Wellington crew Yardwise laid down an hour set towards the end of the first night to a large crowd in the heavyweight area. Accompanied by the Mighty Asterix and Kthrnak on the mic, Yardwise dropped the big, heavy tunes and represented the Welly sound in top styles. Renegade Sound also played a fine set, the Dunedin/South Island based sound laying down nice dancehall-orientated selections along with some original material. All of the musicians put on first class performances, some of the other acts included House of Shem, The Midnights, Salmonella Dub, Anika Moa, DLT, Brazil Beat Soundsystem, The Open Souls, Cornerstone Roots, Kora and Katchafire.

Big ups and respect to the Motherland Collective for putting on a first-class festival with positive messages and irie vibes. We look forward to the next one in 2008.


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