ON the beat: Rhythm and Alps – A veteran’s guide

Smiling happy people. PHOTO: Elliot Steven Photography.

Smiling happy people. PHOTO: Elliot Steven Photography.

Now into her fourth year of sending it deep at the South Island’s answer to a New Year festival, EMMA SIMPSON spills her secrets to a successful R&A.  Here are some of her lessons learnt (quite often the hard way) from Rhythm and Alps.
 1) Do your admin.
I know it’s Captain Obvious but you are one of around 7000 punters hungry to party. Make sure you have your ticket printed and ready to go, have your ID safely stored on your body, phone charged and know how you’re getting home (if you are not camping ). There are limited transport options back to Wanaka if you’re a trooper and rave until sunrise and don’t have a camping ticket. This will be even harder to sort if you are in a state of intoxication. Trust me, I know.
 2) Do your music admin.
 Unless you have nonchalant eardrums and would happily flit between the stages like a festival hippie, spend some time mapping out what you want to see, where and when. Particularly in this year’s lineup there a lot of less well known (but still epic) artists. Grab the set times on the R&A website and chuck some of the artists you don’t know so well into YouTube and have a listen . You didn’t drop a few hundred on a New Year’s festival to window shop between stages.
If you’re a drum and bass fiend you will most likely have an umbilical cord attached to the WTWTA stage on the 30th. There are heavyweights on all through the night – finishing off with The Upbeats at 4am. WTWTA also has a prolific New Year’s Eve line up, ringing in 2017 with Opiou and Cutsnake– so if Six60 isn’t your glass of vodka then look further than the MainStage.
 3) Don’t be stingy – Upgrade to VIP. 
I have two years of a standard ticket under my belt  and I swear – once you upgrade you will never go back . The VIP experience is not just for 30+s scared to be trampled to death in a mosh pit: it gives you the gift of time.
Believe me there is nothing worse than spending half the night waiting in line for your can of Smirnoff Ice. VIP has two bars all to itself and also supplies a wider range of drinks . There’s also a super great vibe inside – bean bags for lounging, a fire to cosy up to and Alice hairdressers on site to style your hair for freeeee. Go for the glitter and braid look that’s hot right now. There are dedicated hosts, phone charging facilities and… flushing toilets. Quite civilised really. For less than $100 for the whole festival, it’s worth an upgrade.
 4) Bring clothes for four seasons.
 If you think you will spend the entire festival in a sweaty mess due to the ravaging Wanaka sun, you are severely mistaken. The Cardrona Valley gets bloody freezing in the middle of the night and if you are waiting for a bus at 3am you don’t want to be shaking in your socks. You’ll need a hat for shade during the day and warm layers after dark.
 5) Never underestimate your drunken stupidity.
The amount of time I have spent wandering around the campsite because I have lost my tent is absolutely obscene. Honestly the entire camping area looks exactly the same – except for one thing , there are flag poles surrounding the walk way through the campsite. A good friend of mine(shoutout Zoe) suggested that on the walk from your tent site to the main stage area count how many flag poles you pass and remember it , then you can count them as you walk back.
Again Captain Obvious returns but sort out your hydration when you arrive. After hours of moshing the last thing you want to do is wander round the campsite trying to find the water station. Do a sweep when you arrive and get a feel for the lay of the land. Know where you will be refilling your water bottle.
 6) Financial Admin. 
 Rhythm and Alps utilises wristband technology for payment so when you arrive , you top it up and that’s how you pay for everything on site. Another time consumer is topping it up constantly so think about how much you can/want to spend on your intoxication and midnight snacks BEFORE you top up so you don’t have to do it more than once or twice throughout the festival.
We love the Cabin! PHOTO: Elliot Steven Photography.

We love the Cabin! PHOTO: Elliot Steven Photography.

 7) Never underestimate the Cabin. 
If you froth off the vibes of others then do not discount the Cabin stage. A hop, skip and jump away from the WTWTA stage is a guaranteed all night long stream of crowd pleaser drum and bass, dubstep and house music with a myriad of local and international DJs. If you’re not feeling the vibes from either stage it’s a great way to amp yourself up.
 8) Don’t be a dick.
Don’t make the rookie mistake (we’ve all been there) of going too hard on night one so that you are a broke , dishevelled stain for New Year’s Eve . Hydrate, eat, pace yourself and try and remember the experience. Leaving with a collection of blackouts and a shell of yourself is no fun . Respect yourself, respect others and respect the land.
 9) Let the man eat.
Wanaka township is full for New Year. A simple eggs bene may include a two hour wait. So be smart and pre order your Red Star burger online to gobble before you head to the festival. Buy good food in advance or eat your way through the food stalls on site- the Hungarian Fried Bread is delish. I wouldn’t wing it if you are a person who gets ‘hangry’.
Hopefully there is a tidbit in there that you can take away to simplify your R&A experience . With the biggest ticket sales EVER , the entire festival is going to be humming. Happy Festival everyone !
– Emma Simpson.
Limited last minute tickets for R&A are on sale now and can be purchased at www.rhythmandalps.co.nz.
 
Rhythm and Alps 2016 lineup:

December 30

AKILTHE MC / BENTHAMISM / DEVILSKIN / DUB FX / DUSKY / EKALI / HARD LEE / HEIDI / HEY LADY / ICICLE LIVE FEAT SP:MC / K+LAB / LEFT OR RIGHT / OCEAN ALLEY / PASH JAMS / RIBERA / RISK / SINCLAIR  / S.P.Y / STUBACCA / TOKiMONSTA

THE UPBEATS / WEIRD TOGETHER

December 31

ACEN / ARMA DEL AMOR / BAYNK / CHACHI / CUT SNAKE / DAVE BOOGIE / GARETH THOMAS / GRAEME JAMES / HENDI / ILL FIGZ / ISAAC CHAMBERS / LIGHTLY TOASTED / MANDELA / OPIUO / PACIFIC HEIGHTS / PITCH BLACK / POTTY / PSYKOSIS / RUSE / SACHI / SIX60 / SPIKEY TEE / STATURE / SUBVERSION / SUMO SUI / T-BONE / THANKYOU CITY / THE SETTLERS / TREI / YOUNG TAPZ

Rhythm and Alps 2015 reviews from ONmag:

http://www.onmag.co.nz/music-festival-101-case-study-rhythm-and-alps/

http://www.onmag.co.nz/on-the-beat-killing-it-versus-kooking-it-the-full-spectrum-of-rhythm-and-alps/

For ON-the-ball previews, promotion, advertising, interviews, reviews and photography for your cool happenings and concepts, contact annabel@onmag.co.nz.

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