Welcome to Nowhere Sunday Shoutout
Shoutouts to Welcome to Nowhere!
Our next Sunday Shoutout is dedicated to our wonderful friends at Welcome to Nowhere. These epic humans have been curating Aotearoa’s coolest little festival since 2017 and a solid chunk of their core team are also deeply involved in making Twisted Frequency tick! Nestled far from civilization in what feels like a pan-dimensional slice of tropical paradise hidden away in rural Manawatu, this festival boasts a swimming hole, live poetry, a prime selection of some of the bossest live bands/musicians from across the motu alongside up-and-coming independent New Zealand artists. Be sure to keep the first weekend of February free so you can indulge yourself in the delights of Welcome to Nowhere.
We had a kōrero with the collective to find out more about what makes this festival so special.
Twisted: what's the origin story of the festival, how did it come about, what's the kaupapa?
Nowhere: The idea for Welcome to Nowhere came about after members of the Eyegum Music Collective went to help out at a festival in the far north called Chronophonium. That experience was super inspiring - seeing how everything was put together by hand out of love for the music scene - so we figured we could pull off something similar a little closer to Pōneke. This was early 2016, around the time we started doing Eyegum Wednesdays after the wave of Eyegum house parties the previous few years, so we had a lot more time on our hands and decided to put that towards making a festival that we felt reflected our ideal festival experience.
Twisted: Tell us about the uniqueness of what you have on offer and what difference the punters can expect from other festivals.
Nowhere: The location of a festival adds so much to the character of a festival. Nowhere is a great little festival on an isolated piece of farmland near Whanganui, with an awesome swimming hole. It’s a great space to spend a weekend, let alone having 3 nights worth of bands, poets and art to take in. Nowhere is big enough to feel big, but small enough to feel like a big village. Community is a big element of Nowhere’s ethos. We build everything and we’re volunteer run, we make that clear, it’s immersive and part of the charm.
Twisted: What are your favourite memories with the festival and collective?
Nowhere: From an organising standpoint the best part of every festival is finally walking down to the main stage after a long day of getting everybody onto site and set-up, and finally seeing the festival in full swing. People enjoying themselves around the stage that we’ve built by hand, relaxing in the swimming hole (one particular sunset float listening to French for Rabbits - the lagoon was empty and it was so peaceful and calming and lush to be surrounded by water with beautiful tunes), laughing and meeting like minded people - it’s a beautifully cathartic experience. Lastly, to be sappy, the moment of intense caring, solidarity and support you find with other organisers, volunteers and sometimes punters, in between the general stress and hectic-ness of working the fest. Big fan of that.
Also, we used to have this tradition (don’t remember how it became one) of cooking up hundreds of hashbrowns and bringing them down to the main stage at 3am to pass around the remaining crowd. Unfortunately we got a bit too big to do that, but we’d love to again if anybody wants to donate some slabs of potato toast?
Twisted: What do you hope to achieve or make happen for the upcoming event, what's your vision? Are you adding or changing anything that's different from last time or other past events?
Nowhere: Every year we look at what we did previously, there’s a cool little church nearby which is open twice a year that we use for some memorable acoustic performances. This year, we’ll mainly be tweaking the things we’ve already done, little changes here, small alterations there. Last year we built a third stage that we didn’t get to use as much as we would have liked, so this year we’ve scheduled DJs to play from the early afternoon each day to give people a bit more choice with their musical vibe in the evenings. We’re also excited to welcome the Grotto back for a second year, their secret chillout space added an awesome element to the festival.
Twisted: What's the best thing about W2N?
Nowhere: The sense of temporary community that comes about over Nowhere. There’s friends you make who you see once a year while at Nowhere. The community is definitely what makes it feel so special - it’s the perfect size for everything to feel caring and self-policing and the people you meet to become more than just passing festival friends. The music is also curated by people who have a deep passion for and knowledge of Aotearoa’s underground music scene, so while you may not know a lot of the artists playing yet, your future favourite NZ band is probably on the line-up.
Shoutouts to Welcome to Nowhere!! Without communities and collectives like these, Aotearoa’s festival scene wouldn’t be as amazing as it is today. If music, art, and a welcoming community sound like your cup of tea, head to their website to learn more about everything they offer our communities, and score yourself a ticket.