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Festival showcase for south

Trinity Roots will play on Sunday evening. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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A night sky blanketed with stars and three days of music set under 2000-year-old kahikatea trees – the countdown has begun for the 121 festival at Tauherenikau Racecourse from today.

Featherston resident and acclaimed musician Warren Maxwell will feature in the line-up with Trinity Roots.

The music will be of varying genres from, soul, roots, hip hop, and drum’n’bass.

Maxwell told the Times-Age he was actively encouraging people to come along, “not only for the music but to really acknowledge where we are – this most amazing idyllic paradise”.

A resident of Wairarapa for more than 15 years, Maxwell said the festival was going to be of the same quality and manaakitanga [hospitality] as all of the other festivals in New Zealand.

“Just come and enjoy it, stop off in Featherston at our Super Value and our cheese shop and sample some of the fine products that we have here – I think it’s good for everything, it’s good for the soul and it’s got something for everybody.”

The acclaimed musician loves the fact he can go down to Featherston’s Super Value in his onesie and no one would care.

“People just get on with their lives – it’s just such an accepting, cool little town, it’s just wonderful.

“As much as we’re there for the music and the community – we should also be very cognisant of our environment and I would encourage people to go down to the river and really acknowledge the water because water is going to be more precious than anything on this planet – it already is.

“Think about the environment, look up at those mountains, look around at the trees.”

This is the first time 121 has held an event this side of the Remutakas but they have had festivals in Wellington.

“I do remember hearing about them over the last couple of years,” Maxwell said.

“Olly [de Salis] started them at his parents’ house and then they just grew and now he’s teamed up with Tim Ward from San Francisco Bathhouse and got a really good team of people around him”.

Maxwell said he was looking forward to seeing DJ act Black Madonna.

“We’re going to adopt her! Let’s just say she’s from Featherston! She’s funky!

“Other highlights are American group Hiatus Coyote, of course!

“I’m extremely excited to see the Avantdale Bowling Club but also I love Bailey Wiley – I think she’s got the most incredibly underrated voice in the country and Jess B is going to be incredible.”

The surrounding forest at Tauherenikau has some of the oldest kahikatea trees in the world – estimated to be well over 2000 years old – and Maxwell anticipated the festival would reset people before they went back to their busy city lives.

“The stars out here are incredible – and we’ve got a friend out here who comes out from Wellington quite a lot because he believes the air is different – it’s so much clearer and he comes and stays with us and then he goes away a few days later after he’s reset,” Maxwell said.

The festival runs for three days.

For more information, visit 121festival.co.nz.

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