I was an R&V virgin, anxious teen, determined that the final days of my year would be spent in excitement and exploration, counting in the New Year with my friends hanging off my shoulders and the determination that 2017 will be our year! 

In its 14th year, Rhythm and Vines still manages to draw crowds from all corners of New Zealand and it did not disappoint. I guess I went seeking adventure and freedom. I needed this burst to let out everything I had held in over the year. So did my fellow festival-goers; it was like this unspoken connection. We were all ready to say goodbye to 2016. Surrounded by boomers and millennials, young or young at heart in all the excitement, cut grass and sweat, we sat amongst the vines and canvas with an alcoholic haze and listened to great music. 

The line-up was the heart of the festival. It was captivating, enticing us to dance and sing until the early hours of the morning. It included Chance the Rapper who, in 2016, solidified his place as one of the world’s most innovative artists. He inspired the crowd with every lyric. Our very own Kimbra, who’s proving to the world how much talent we have in our small country, was beautifully mesmerising.

Rufus was a crowd favourite. The Sydney-based band who earlier in the year sold out two Auckland shows was electrifying to watch. 

Photo from R&V by Hayley Smith.

Netsky, just one of the many incredible acts! Photo by Hayley Smith.

New Zealand favourites like P Money and Savage were guaranteed to deliver a good time. Other amazing acts included Zhu, Netsky, Wilkinson, Getter, Denzel Curry, Sachi and so many more. 

As I spent three days living amongst the massive crowds surviving on wieners and churros, with the occasional escape to the chill zones and somehow keeping my phone alive on 10% battery, I had an incredible time. My personal highlight was getting to interview Jono from We Mouve, and hearing his stories of how they started and the movement they have created inspired me. 

As we welcomed the first sunrise of the New Year, felt that last drop as if at that point the bass had become a second heartbeat, we reflected on the memories that were made, the new people we will tell stories of and the ones we will forget. We said goodbye to those cramped tents and vowed never to take a warm shower for granted again. Rhythm and Vines will hold an important place with me and I thank Hamish, Tom and Andrew for creating this powerful, safe place for music lovers to spend welcoming in the New Year. 

Photo from R&V by Hayley Smith.

What a weekend! Photo by Hayley Smith.