Touching down in Kiwi-Town felt good, and we were greeted by, “Welcome to Middle Earth,” signs, which felt very good. After a quick flight on an 8-seater, we landed in Gisborn (Gissy, Gissy, Gissy, OI, OI, OI!) on different flights due to the great ticket mix up of 2012 and were greeted by the beautiful couple, Hayden and Kelly, who we met on our Contiki trip in the beginning of the summer.
That trip is pretty much the reason we pulled the trigger to head west; after spending two glorious weeks touring western USA with many Kiwis and Aussies, we figured, let’s see what those legends can do with home-field advantage. Hayden had also told us about a New Year’s Eve music festival called Rhythm & Vines, that sounded perfect, and he mentioned that he lived near the beach. Yes, and yes!
Driving through Gissy (pronounced Gizzy) gave us a healthy taste of what was to come—the town was full of tents, there were people/campers everywhere, and there was a caution sign for the festival that simply said, “Don’t be a dickhead.” Gisborn’s population (30,000) doubles during R&V weekend, so it’s straight buzzing.
When Hayden and Kelly casually told us they lived by the beach, they really undersold it. They live on top of a cliff that overlooks one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the Pacific Ocean stretches as far as my eagle eyes could see. This was paradise. Yes, we were happy to be here.
After taking in the ridiculous views and having a few cordials on the porch, we met a man named Tommy, who would help show us one of the best weekends of our lives. He recommended that we don’t pay $300 for Rhythm & Vines, and he along with Hayden and Kelly could pass back their bracelets… ok!
R&V began the next night, the 29th, but Bay Watch or B-dubs was that night, and there was going to be some homegrown talent playing right by the beach… ok! We piled into Tommy’s van (vans were everywhere, every group of friends seemed to have a team van, great way to cruise about) with our squad and headed to B-dubs.
The scene was already electric, you can tell a lot about an event by the line in, and everyone was fired up, sun-kissed beauties LeFt aNd RigHt. We stormed in, grabbed a few RTD’s (Ready To Drinks, not Rob Transmitting Diseases, basically canned Jack and Cokes) and followed our ears to the Jaeger (a German liquor you can mix with red bull) truck that had created a mini-rave in the corner of the park. As we walked up, Azalea Bank’s 212 came on, and the boys started dancing super hard-like.
The dancing did not get softer, but we decided to go see a Kiwi group called Six60 on another stage. Despite having no prior knowledge of the band, we bought in pretty quick because those boys can put on a show (we’ve become big fans). They were a group of friends who lived together in college, apartment number was 660, and formed a very successful band, much like me and my pals from a place called 6107…
The night was filled with more dancing, a DJ named Optimus Grhyme came on a wobbled around a bit, and before we could rave dangerously, we hopped into Tommy’s van and headed back to our home base in paradise.
Moral of the Story: Not every group of friends in college who live together and happen to play instruments and talk about making a band, and competing in a school-wide battle of the bands actually make it, but when they do, they tend to put on a good show.