13 Jul 2024

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From tiny beginnings playing to hundreds in the Raglan Town Hall to headlining genre-establishing acts such as Big Youth in front of thousands, New Zealand's Soundsplash Eco Reggae Festival has come a long way.

Now entering its sixth year in existence, Soundsplash and Motherland Collective are set to release a documentary dvd which further marks its presence as one of the mainstays on the excellent New Zealand music festival scene.

With tickets already on sale for the two-day festival on February 23-24, the first 1000 buyers will receive a free promotional copy of this important slice of Kiwi roots music culture before the full version goes on sale to the general public.

Festival organiser and front man to Raglan-based reggae band Cornerstone Roots, Brian Ruawai isn't surprised his tiny brainchild has grown into one of the must-do festivals in the Kiwi summer.

He said he started the festival to provide a platform for the growing number of reggae bands to ply their trade. As those bands have grown, so too has Soundsplash.

"I thought the timing was right and there needed to be a festival that represented this genre of music and what was happening in New Zealand culturally," Brian said.

"This documentary, I suppose, captures that and what had been happening in New Zealand in the five years previous."

The 45 minute documentary and accompanying 86 minutes of live footage from the '06 festival includes rare outtakes with Third World and Big Youth.

Footage of the first Soundsplash in Raglan's town hall, Brian's story of being able to afford to print just one A3 poster a week to promote it and the "muddy" festival in 2002 are brilliantly comical and add a real Raglan humour to this documentary.

But this is more than just a snippet of a festival that happens annually in a small but idyllic surfing community on the North Island's west coast.

This is a documentation of New Zealand social and roots music culture and of the growing consciousness towards nurturing the land we live on.

Soundsplash has encapsulated New Zealand's affinity with reggae and roots music that has grown phenomenally ever since the 1970s and Bob Marley's visit to these shores in 1979.

New Zealand can lay claim to its own distinctive sound of reggae and in Soundsplash it has its purpose built vehicle to represent it.

Big Youth says it best in the documentary.

"It's the seed that we (Jamaicans) planted and now its grown. It's bearing fruit and people are adapting it from all walks of life."

Along with Big Youth and fellow Jamaican reggae giants Third World the dvd features revealing interviews with leading New Zealand acts such as Tiki Taane from Salmonella Dub and Imon Starr from Rhombus.

"This festival has to keep going for 1000 years," Imon Starr heralds in the documentary.

Artists at Soundsplash 07 :

Dub Syndicate, The Black Seeds, Olmecha, Batucada Sound Machine, Mihirangi, Little Bushman, Whirimako Black, Willi The Kid, Tuffy Culture, MC Silva, Spartacus R, Safari, The Dynamic Thrills, Karioi Rhythm Selection, Soul Speed, Grizzly Smooth, Jinja Jambu, Crimson Pearl, Drulocks, Mad Profession, Shapeshifter, Katchafire, Cornerstone Roots, Kora, Ladi 6, Blue King Brown, Budspells, Josh Owen Band, House Of Shem, Deva Mahal, Dubwize, The Midnights, Stinky Jim, Brazil Beat Sound System, Toki and Renegade Sound System.

More Information:

Check out the Official Soundsplash Website

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