A Rundown on Splore Music & Arts Festival with John Minty
Welcome to Festival Insider's Organizer Q&A series. Here, we have intimate conversations with some of the festival market's most exciting and influential innovators.
We had the honor of chatting with John Minty, of Splore Festival in New Zealand. Splore is a three-day, boutique music and arts festival like no other with an admirable ethos based around sustainability, and leaving no trace. Set on the stunning shores of Tāpapakanga, and known as the region's greatest dress-up party, we implore you to check this out...
What is your name and what is the name of your festival?
My name is John Minty, I'm Director of New Zealand Splore Music and Arts Festival
When did the festival start and what inspired it?
The festival started on New Year's 1998/99, and was inspired by some Kiwis that used to DJ in Goa and that used to attend Burning Man.
When and where does it happen?
Splore is held on the shores of Tāpapakanga Regional Park, which is about 70 KM South East of Auckland. It's been there since 2006.
Tell us about the site and how it influences the festival?
Tāpapakanga Regional Park is a traditional, spiritual land of Mana Whenua. It has incredible history for the people there and also physically it is a spectacular spot on a beach with ancient pōhutukawa trees.
What kind of musical artists play at your festival?
Splore tends to go for a very eclectic lineup, we don't stick to one genre, it all comes down to how charismatic and engaging the performance is, but it generally hits a lot of the areas of Soul, Hip Hop, and Electronica.
Who was the first act you ever booked?
The first act I booked for Splore was Talib Kweli from Brooklyn.
What’s the most memorable set or sets for you?
The ones that stand out for me would be probably Erykah Badu in 2012, the first time she'd been to New Zealand, Rudimental a couple of years ago, and also last year, UK's, Kate Tempest.
Who is the target audience for your festival?
I suppose quite unique because it's a multi-generational festival, so we have about 700 children on site under the age of 12, a lot of teenagers and people up to the age of 70. It's a true multi-generational festival where we've had kids that have grown up at the festival and are now teenagers and young adults.
What is unique about your festival? What sets it apart?
I think the key thing about Splore is very much the community that we've built up over the years. So it tends to be a very conscious, creative tribe of people that acknowledge the environment or have very sustainable outlooks on life and also have a caring attitude to diversity.
What are some of the challenges you've faced in organizing your festival?
I think the biggest challenge for a festival like Splore, it's three or four days outside, in late summer in New Zealand, which can have the occasional tropical cyclone coming down from the Pacific. So the weather generally is the biggest challenge and we've had a number of years we've had some very inclement weather in the build-up, but we've gone ahead regardless and embraced it.