Nostalgia Festival
Date: February 16th 2019
Location: Ferrymead Heritage Park, Christchurch
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reviewed by: HANNAH POWELL


Nostalgia Festival is the underdog of New Zealand’s festival scene. Two stages of an impressive line-up, a great bunch of soul food and preloved stalls and many, many a hand clutching a trendy reusable cup full of Cassels and Sons Brewing Co craft beer. Set in my childhood memories of Ferrymead Heritage Park in the Heathcote Valley, I was coming back for far more than a steam train ride this time; I entered the festival with no expectations and came out the other side wondering where it’s been all my life.

Feel-good was the vibe, and it ticked the boxes big time. The festival had the layout spot on – wandering the old streets of the Heritage Park made stage hopping a breeze. Sumner favourites The Butlers and Dunedin’s own Soaked Oats provided the best afternoon groove in the green of the RDU 98.5FM stage. The main stage hosting a handful of the headliners such as Trinity Roots, The Beths and The Miltones was located near the entrance, with Holly Arrowsmith’s stunning performance filling the nave with golden sound in the heritage church. Entertaining acts graced the stage inside the old theatre, and quality food stalls lined half of the main street with plenty of picnic tables and ledges to perch upon with your kombucha. Food wise, they balanced the meat and plant-based menu just right. Not only was it feel-good for the music, but for the consumption too. Lyttelton Coffee Co served their coffee in a bring-back ceramic mug, Cassels & Son’s craft beer or a cocktail from Golden Earl was poured into a reusable Good on Ya Globelet, and all cutlery and plates were recyclable. There wasn’t a plastic bag in sight – a wander around the corner was met with carefully selected preloved clothing and second-hand goods stalls that provided a great selection to flick through between gigs. Once again, spot on. The only downside was that it was a slight hit to the student’s wallet; food and drink were a tad pricey and bringing your own of anything was prohibited. Set a budget aside beforehand to prevent the guilt of the savings dip for next time.

For a $50 adult ticket, the day was well worth it. And the groove didn’t stop there – Blue Smoke hosted a relaxed after party with some live Soaked Oats tunes once the festival finished. In a stuck-record fashion, “this is such a good day” was yelled repeatedly to each other from our group of three as we danced through the streets full of Doc Martens, stunner op shop outfits and big earrings. As it was an all ages event, I saw kids half my age with more hipster style than I could muster at the awkward age of nine (the baby with the pink earmuffs having a gentle rave at the RDU 98.5FM took an unofficial Best Dressed).  By evening, the on-their-feet crowd was bathed in the golden hour, feel-good music was the soundtrack, and the smoke of the steam train dusted the air. We felt right at home.   


HANNAH POWELL is your local film and theatre gal gone hippie, complete with bangs and at least one pair of Docs. Music festival enthusiast, green tea drinker and avid horoscope reader. Will most likely be found at the next gig.

Check out Hannah’s other work:

The Common Room: What a Month of Tinder Taught Me

The Great NZ Festival Road Trip: How you can do it for yourself

V Day: How to take yourself on a date

Up sticks: Why the time is always right to travel