Electric Avenue returned in 2021 cementing itself as one of Aotearoa’s premium festival experiences. Nestled in the picturesque setting of Hagley Park, the day was filled with great music, drinks, food and an energy that’s hard to capture in words.
Electric Avenue has earned its position as a Christchurch institution and it made sure to treat the city to another great day out. The festival brought the best out of Christchurch, filling the park with punters eager to immerse themselves in the sun-soaked vibes.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to secure international headliners was missing, with the exception of honorary kiwi, Netsky. However, there was no shortage of talent featured. Across four stages, festival-goers were treated to the likes of Fat Freddys Drop, Salmonella Dub, SACHI, Wax Mustang, Ladi6, Shapeshifter, Kora, CHAII and a list of others.
Electric Avenue made sure to cater to everyone, with a mix of bands, rappers, DJs and solo artists all appearing on the different stages. Each stage had a unique persona, and you could have spent the whole day at a single location feeling like you had a complete festival experience. If you did make the journey across Hagley Park to a different stage, you discovered something new and were treated to one of the exceptional artists featured on the line-up.
One of the highlights of the day was the RDU 98.5FM Rave Cave, presented by one of New Zealand’s leading alternative music voices. Based in Ōtautahi, RDU knows the talent the city has to offer and with a specially curated line-up, they certainly made the most of it. The Rave Cave featured a variety of unique and captivating DJ’s. To kick off the day Ultraviolet and Texture went B2B followed by the proceedings of Mr Meaty Boy, Social Sport, Poris, Rubix, Sophia, Jagā, Lauren Gin, Headland, TRUTH and topped it off with Keanu Raves and Malware MD.
The talent was diverse and so was the music on offer. Techno, drum and bass, house, breakbeat, dubstep and four on the floor were all on display, with the crowd eagerly lapping up every second of it. The music permeated throughout the intimate set-up as each member of the curated line-up showed off their signature sound. Headland and TRUTH‘s bass-heavy music coursed through your veins courtesy of the exceptional sound system. Sophia and Lauren Gin brought trap sets that got the punters dancing. The drum and bass provided by the likes of Poris and Rubix seemed to energize the crowd in their mid-afternoon haze. Social Sport, Jagā, Texture, Mr Meaty Boy and Ultraviolet guided the crowd through a variety of electronica genres and moods. Each artist brought something fresh to the stage and no two acts ever felt the same. Closing off the night with an incredible techno set were Keanu Raves and Malware MD. The pair went back to back and ended the day on a high note.
Across the line-up were also a variety of current and former RDU 98.5FM show hosts – showcasing the special and inclusive local music scene the station continues to foster. TRUTH started on the airwaves on the Urban Notion show that hit the airwaves in the 2000s, Ultraviolet features on Percy Radio, Headland appears on Eyes Down Radio, Keanu Raves & Malware MD can be found on Club Unique, Jagā is one of the co-hosts for Fostercare Radio and Rubix is RDU 98.5FM‘s very own station manager. The artists all love giving back and performing, with Mr Meaty Boy explaining the love is very much mutual, “I love that RDU is for the people and supports their artists.”
Speaking to Simon Claridge, who is also DJ/producer Rubix, and the station manager on the day, he explained the RDU stage had continued to improve and showcase a diverse Ōtautahi line up. “I love the RDU stage and how it has grown over the last 3 years. It allows a whole bunch of our local artists to perform on a big rig. The festival has grown to be so large over the years, it’s such an epic day to see your most-loved New Zealand musicians.”
The significance of Electric Avenue to Christchurch is huge. The festival offers the opportunity for a wide demographic to experience local music like never before. Claridge explains it’s also a great opportunity for local acts to reach out to a new market, “We don’t really have anything else of this size that caters to the type of demographic that comes to a festival. That’s 18-year-olds right through to people who are a lot older. We don’t have something to this level of multi-genre music and stages. It’s paramount that something like this has to happen. These guys have that market, and they do a fantastic job.”
The Rave Cave is built for a boogie and ensures that no matter what type of music you enjoy, you’ll have something to dance to. Tuesday Drive host and TwoMinds co-founder, Dan Stewart he explained the Rave Cave offers something special at Electric Avenue, “I’ve just stopped sweating because we’re behind the Rave Cave. When you’re in the Rave Cave you are sweating. It’s sick. Do you know what’s so cool about the Rave Cave? It’s just levelled up every year and is always getting better.”
Electric Avenue went off without a hitch in 2021. Full of amazing New Zealand musicians, the opportunity to discover new music was endless. Journeying from stage to stage to catch a new performance was always fun, or just taking some time to soak in the amazing setup or grab a bite to eat. I also constantly came across familiar faces of friends around the grounds, grabbing drinks or in the middle of the mosh. It’s these encounters that make Electric Avenue such an integral part of Canterbury culture, with everyone always looking forward to bumping into someone they know. The only downside of the day is that I couldn’t be in two places at the same time, trying to watch as many performances as possible.
Electric Avenue is indisputably one of Christchurch’s best day outs, and I’m already looking forward to next year.
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