TAKING a nostalgic look at the past while keeping a sharp eye on the future are the defining features of the line-up for Rhythm and Vines 2012, announced in Auckland last night.
“It is our 10th anniversary so naturally we’ve got a little bit sentimental in some of the artists we have booked for this year,” says Hamish Pinkham, co-founder and programme director for the New Year’s Eve music festival, held annually at Gisborne’s Waiohika Estate.
But with the festival still nearly five months away, the team also had to be conscious of fresh acts that would be hot at the time.
“It is a bit like playing the sharemarket,” Pinkham says.
“You have to keep a close ear to the ground and have a good understanding of what is coming out, who is touring and how people are going to respond to those acts.
“That is something we have done pretty well at in the past, like getting Tiny Tempah last year who was relatively unknown when we booked him in August, but by the end of the year he was huge.”
On the nostalgia side there are acts that have played R&V in the past, including DJ/producers Chase and Status (UK) and Netsky (Belgium), New Zealanders P-Money, Ruby Frost and Six 60 and Wellington band The Black Seeds, around whom the inaugural 2002 festival was centred.
Among the fresh and the new are celebrity DJ Mark Ronson, Australian electro duos Knife Party and The Presets, psychedelic rockers Tame Impala, also from across the ditch, and Auckland indie trio Five Mile Town.
The ever-popular Netsky visits that camp . . . though he has played DJ sets at R&V in the past, his live album (and live show) is tipped to be huge as the year progresses.
Also a “guaranteed winner” is Kiwi songstress Kimbra, who Pinkham had considered booking in past years before her international career took off, and who he believes will be a huge drawcard.
There are still more acts to be announced — among them the “classic” artists that will fill the slot last year occupied by Dragon — and by the time the team has finished they will have confirmed over 100 acts to perform on five stages over the three-day course of the festival.
With more than two-thirds (17,000) of the available tickets already sold, team R&V is confident of reaching their 30,000 capacity for the 2012 festival — meaning Gisborne will again be inundated with visitors from around the country and the world.
Pinkham has already had a fairly good taste of what is to come. He flew in yesterday from London, where he had been attending festivals and negotiating deals.
“London is the hub of the industry so it really is important to go over there every year so you are sitting right in front of the people who are making the decisions.”
While attending gigs and festivals sounds like getting paid to have fun, he believed it was imperative to the success of the Gisborne event.
He admits going to boutique festival Standon Calling prompted a pang of nostalgia for the days when R&V hosted a manageable 4000 guests.
“But even though it’s smaller, there is still a lot that R&V can learn from an event like that,” he said.
“Like ours, their festival is an event on a family estate but they have a real focus on theming — things like secret areas in the forest — which was really interesting to see. We certainly don’t want to weaken our focus on the music but we think there are other areas where we can grow.”
That will put the pressure on creative and production director Al Green to come up with bigger and better ideas for 2012, and Pinkham believed he was up to the job.
“He’s already done things like the R&V sign, which has become almost iconic, and the midnight shows so he’s got a great nose for what is going to be visually significant and spectacular.”
Meanwhile, team R&V will continue working out of the Auckland office that enables it to be close to some of its larger partners, but members will be in Gisborne for next month’s Business Excellence Awards.
In addition, they’ll catch up on what is happening with October’s Feast wine and food festival, which they are also hosting out at Waiohika.
“But we’ve still got heaps to do for R&V,” Pinkham said. “There are definitely a few gaps to fill in the line-up so that’s what we’re looking at now.”