‘Irie mon’ as reggae stirs crowd
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.