16 Jun 2024

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Parachute Review

Play time at Parachute 09

The Parachute music festival has been running for a surprising 19 years now and with every year the organisation seems to be attracting more international acts and in turn, more happy campers to spend the long weekend hanging out in the sun sharing good times with friends. 

Previous big names of the event include Switchfoot, The Donna’s and grammy award winners, Third Day, along with favourite kiwi icon, Dave Dobbyn who headed along yet again for another enlightening performance at this years festival.

Popular U.S lads, Family Force 5 were on the bill this year, so it was without a doubt high-time that this little lady went along to check out the concert for herself on the busiest day of the event – Saturday.

Arriving at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek nice and early to a half full car park and dust floating through the air was a pretty good indication of what the day would bring...masses of people and unbearable summer heat.  Not a bad combo for someone who has spent most of the warmer months inside at a computer I guess.

Much of the morning was spent finding my way around and checking out what treats were on offer around the venue and I must say I was most impressed with the variety of food available!  Everything from Subway and pizza through to frappacinos and delicious waffle cone ice creams were on offer as you walk in between rows of tents and kids enjoying crumping competitions.  Oh yes, this festival has it all, including those really crazy gypsy fair type rides, like BDO favourites the Super Loop, Rock n’ Roll and the Gravitron.

Heading over to the debut stage, we checked out a couple of newbies performing for a reasonably tame bunch that was along for good music and a sit down in the shade over lunch time.  Cutie, Holy Christina wooed us with her pure and innocent vocals first which was followed by youngster Geneva Peters and her band.  Now, she was lovely and all, but to be perfectly honest with you, I spent most of my time watching her drummer who was pulling animal-like faces whilst jumping up and down in his seat.  He was a star.

After a quick stop by that ice cream booth I’d been dreaming of it was time to hit the Palladium for an entertaining round of indoor cricket between American kids, Kutless and Family Force 5 who were up against our local punters.  They managed to draw in quite the crowd of supporters who were out to see what the international rockers could do on the ‘grounds’.  Looking hot in their skinny jeans and white polos I reckon these guys could make anything look attractive.  Although I must say, our New Zealand team was looking pretty damn hot too; in matching white stubbies with the visible undie line, and matching polos.

Now, I’m not a fan of sports at the best of times, but I loved this game and would be more than happy to sit down for another.  It was full of Mexican waves, lolly scrambles, people throwing themselves on the pitch and even a streaker!  What’s not to love about that?!  Of course in true rock n’ roll style the U.S fellas won the match but we were informed later in the evening by front-man of FF5, Solomon Olds (AKA Soul Glow Activatur) that ‘they only let us win because we’re Americans…’.  Hmmm…cheeky.  Either way it was a most entertaining early afternoon spent in the much needed shelter from the sun.

Next on my programme for the day were NZ kids, Kingston who were full of beans and ready to put on an action packed show.  Man are these guys sweet with their power poppy tunes and smiles for Africa.  Watching lead singer Dan Gibson race around the stage making sure that everyone in the crowd ‘got a piece’ was awesome and made me begin to wonder what he’d eaten that day for that kind of energy – I want some!  The highlight of the show for me was probably the one they most want to forget, when Gibson jumped off the stage, unplugging his mic by accident.  With a confused and rather embarrassed look across his face, he continued on like a trooper.  Cute!

Rapture Ruckus has been a much admired act at the Parachute music festival for a few years now, so I was excited to see that he was on in the Palladium as I was making my way to check out some others at the Deluxe stage next door.  Popping in for a ‘quick look’ turned out to be one of my best ideas of the day because this guy knows how to get the crowd pumping!  Rapping his way through his set it was awesome to see everyone singing along and loving every minute of his enthusiastic performance.  Playing the drums towards the end proved most popular and I watched in awe as he continued to wow the crowd.

It was a bit of a squeeze to get out of the hall and I’m sure I must have collected the sweat off about ten different people on my arms as we were eventually sucked outside into the cool air.  I managed to miss the beginning of Tauranga’s pop rockers, Trigger Theory at the Deluxe stage, but to be honest with you; I don’t think I really missed much.  I guess you could say they just weren’t my cup of tea so I was alright with the idea of heading back over to the Main Stage to check out what was to be my favourite act of the day.  No loss for them though – they had a mass of fans rocking out to their tunes in the dark.

The Main stage was packed for head liners, Family Force 5 who wooed me earlier in the day at their press conference.  Telling us stories of their ‘gang names’ and how they’d love to add someone to the group named Jandles – or better still, Jands.  This lead on to some confusion over Pavlova as an Aussie reporter shamelessly tried to steal our icon off us.  Much to the delight of the rest of the kiwis in the room, she was shot down by one of the lads who told her ‘I tried it here first’.  These guys are charmers to say the least which comes across on stage as much as off. 

Dressed in striking red, black and white suits the lads know exactly how to excite the crowd, jumping onto speakers while throwing their bodies into positions that most nanas like me can only dream of. 

Songs like Drama Queen and Love Addict went down a real treat with the audience making everyone bounce up and down for more of the bands crunk rock antics.  These guys have got amazing stage presence and are truly one of the best live bands I’ve seen.  They’re something special that you have to see to believe.  They might not be back for a while but they’re totally worth you tubing at least.

Another band that is worth a look is Hamilton power poppers, Arms Reach who I’d seen about half a year ago and was most impressed with.  Seeing that they were on next, we headed over to see if the kids still ‘had it’.  What am I talking about?  Of course they’ve still got it – and then some.  On form and just as I remembered, they stomped around stage blasting out their original tunes to the decent sized crowd they’d drew in.  I think this time I’d have to say that guitarist/vocalist Jonny Carson put on the best performance of the group this time round as he twirled his body around the stage with all the enthusiasm I loved when I first saw the lads at the Meteor Theatre.

It was back to the main stage for the final act of my day at Parachute – Dave Dobbyn.  Gosh this guy is lovely and it’s easy to see why so many people turned up to see his show.  By this point in the day my feet were tired so it was nice to sit back in a comfy-ish seat and watch the brilliance from afar.  The lighting effects were eerie with smoke machines blowing and looked beautiful against the night sky.  Joined on stage with his crew of four others gave us spine tingles as they performed newer tunes - Wild Kisses Like Rain and Only Love Remains.

Of course it wouldn’t be right if our kiwi favourite didn’t do all his old well known tunes to sing along to, so in true Dobbyn style we enjoyed Maybe The Rain and Loyal to see the day out.

It was lovely and I’ll tell you what…Even that walk up the hill to the car couldn’t be ruined after such a perfect action packed day at Parachute 09.

- Amanda Ratcliffe


Check out the awesome photos from this year's event, kindly supplied by Amanda Ratcliffe!

Click on any of the images above to see the full gallery.


Get ready for the summer of peace, justice and rock 'n roll. Celebrating its 19th year, Parachute Festival 09 is set to be the hottest spot on the summer calendar. From the 23rd-26th January, Hamilton’s Mystery Creek Events Centre will resound with the hits of Christian music heavyweights from home and abroad.

4 days and 150 artists make for the southern hemisphere’s biggest Christian music festival – P09 hosts an all-star line-up including Atlanta crunk rockers Family Force 5, alt-worship revolutionists David Crowder Band, Kutless, Casting Crowns and our very own national treasure Dave Dobbyn.

Representing the home troops are locals Parachute Band, Rapture Ruckus, pop-punkers Mumsdollar and All Left Out and many more. With 6 stages catering to every genre from the sounds of Pacifika and urban soul to the White Elephant Stage’s alt-indie menu, P09 brings the noise for every music fan, from the hardcore kids to the soft-jazz souls. As well as music, P09 brings the A to Z of the arts and culture, with its very own short film fest, late night comedy, village markets, skate park, over 40’s tea party, paintball, 80’s disco, Kiwiana party, child sponsorship and much, much more.


Tickets available from www.iticket.co.nz or phone iTicket on 09 361 1000 or 0508 iTicket. Booking and delivery fees may apply.

Ticket prices and conditions


The line-up can be found on muzic.net.nz's gig guide or on the Parachute Festival website.


The weekend programme will be released on December 22 on this page.

Parachute Music Festival Website


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