How a New Years Eve party for friends turned into NZ’s biggest music festival

Business is Boring is a weekly podcast series presented by The Spinoff in association with Callaghan Innovation. Host Simon Pound speaks with innovators and commentators focused on the future of New Zealand. This week he talks to Hamish Pinkham, founder and creative director of Rhythm & Vines.

This week’s podcast tells the story of how a few mates turned a party for friends into one of the biggest events in New Zealand. There is a lot that is unlikely about the story: the people, the place, the success…. and it was never assured. It’s taken a lot of risk, determination, wrong turns and hard times to make Rhythm & Vines such an event that for you to know it all we have to say is its initials.

In 2003 a group of mates threw a party for 400 people in a vineyard in Gisborne. Two thousand people showed up, beginning a festival that’s now world famous and a rite of passage for Kiwi youth. Rhythm and Vines grew and grew. From small beginnings they added days to the event, international acts, camping, comedy and a whole roster of other ticketed events. But they grew a bit far a bit fast, and some of the things that made the festival feel special were lost. After what was called a riot in their secondary campground they went back to basics, and have rebuilt the festival into a safer, friendlier, smaller and more curated affair. There have been highs and lows, big wins and financial losses, and last year news came that our guest this week on the podcast. Hamish Pinkham, founder and creative director of the festival, had sold half the business to one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, Live Nation.

He is still guiding the ship, but has the help of a much bigger network to land acts, run and fund the event. He is still booking the acts and curating the festival, but is now also able to step into some new ventures like The Phoenix Summit, an entertainment industry event in September.

To talk the journey to here and what is next, Hamish Pinkham joined the podcast.

Either download this episode (right click and save)have a listen below or via Spotify, subscribe through iTunes (RSS feed).


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