‘Irie mon’ as reg­gae stirs crowd

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

For most who at­tend the Ragga­muf­fin fes­ti­val in ‘‘Ro­tove­gas’’, the ex­pe­ri­ence be­gins with the road­trip.

A five and a half hour drive, leav­ing Porirua at 9.30pm on the Fri­day in a 17-year-old Mazda Fa­milia packed with blan­kets, bags, junk, two big Poly­ne­sians and no map ( just some vague di­rec­tions printed off Google), was ad­mit­tedly not the ideal way to rark me up for a week­end away.

My co-pilot said, ‘‘I think the only way we’re go­ing to make it is by shar­ing the drive. We’ll swap ev­ery cou­ple of hours.’’

I took the wheel from Fox­ton to Ro­torua. Males.

We ar­rived at 3am with­out much drama, and at that hour, heaven on earth is col­laps­ing on a dou­ble bed at Ann’s Vol­canic Mo­tel (‘‘big ups’’ to you Ann!).

The next morn­ing was a swel­ter­ing 28 de­grees and armed with my ‘‘Top tips for sur­viv­ing Ragga’’ print out – highly rec­om­mended for first-timers – we made a quick stop at the su­per­mar­ket where sig­nage on the doors di­rected shop­pers to a stall con­tain­ing all the Ragga­muf­fin essen­tials. It in­cluded chiller bags, party ice, wa­ter, sun­screen, hats and beach chairs.

This was the fourth an­nual Ragga­muf­fin fes­ti­val, ‘‘Raggaz’’ for those hip folk in the know, draw­ing about 30,000 mu­sic lovers to the re­gion.

It was said only 10,000 of those peo­ple were likely to be from Ro­torua and other parts of the Bay of Plenty.

By 11am the streets were lined with cars and lo­cals were gather­ing the whanau in their front yards, some were shar­ing beers and set­ting up bar­be­cues, oth­ers were sell­ing flax hats and kete on the road­side.

Se­cu­rity was tight and cars, bags and tick­ets were checked at ev­ery point of en­try at the sta­dium.

A wiry Maori woman wear­ing a high-vis­i­bil­ity vest was cry­ing out, ‘‘Fin­ish your bot­tles, trash your stash and take no cash, peo­ple!’’

Through the gates there were stalls as far as I could see to my left and a sea of peo­ple to my right in front of the main stage.

First ma­jor act to hit the stage was those tal­ented boys from Grey Lynn, Auck­land, Ne­sian Mys­tik.

Feelin’ good: About 30,000 peo­ple at­tended the Ragga­muf­fin fes­ti­val at Ro­torua’s In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium on Wai­tangi week­end.

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