Review: Bay Dreams 2017

Stellar musical acts from across New Zealand and around the globe played a sold-out show to thousands of eager festival goers at the 2017 Bay Dreams music festival on January 2.

New Zealand’s hottest new festival returned for its second year, and drew epic crowds to Tauranga’s ASB Bay Park Stadium thanks to a killer line-up, most notably headline act Yelawolf.

The Alabama MC and hip-hop star was just one of many international acts to get the crowd hyped up – Los Angeles local and renowned DJ AC Slater had everyone getting grimey at the Bass Lounge (Nightmare on Dream St) with his eclectic tunes blending house, garage and rave genres.


Home-grown talent such as Shapeshifter, Kora, Concord Dawn, Katchafire, P-Money, and Home Brew were merely the tip of the talent iceberg - add the likes of Aussie locals Sticky Fingers and Peking Duk into the mix, and it was easy to see why this was the must-attend festival of the season.

Tickets were in hot demand and the gig sold out two months in advance, causing event organisers Mitch Lowe and Pato Alvarez releasing an additional 3,000 tickets to those unlucky enough to miss out first time round.

Kicking off at midday, this year’s Bay Dreams stepped things up a notch by adding a fourth stage, to accommodate some 18,000 people that packed out the venue that moonlights as Speedway race track.

The main stage (or Main Bay) proved the place to be, with thousands of people refusing to give up their possie as the likes of Katchafire, Home Brew, Bizzy Bone, Kora, Sticky Fingers Yelawolf, Peking Duk and Shapeshifter took it in turns to amp up the crowd.

Banger after banger made it difficult to tear yourself away to get a refill… not to mention the fact that a refill required queueing up to first load your AWOP card, and queueing again to grab a drink or two (the two-drink maximum kept overly sloshed partiers at bay).

However, with a couple years R&V under my belt the idea of double queueing was hardly a put-off. Thankfully, ample staff and multiple bar locations meant queues moved quickly, meaning more time for me to re-join my posse and get back into #gettingit.

Later in the evening, and much like last year’s Bay Dreams, the heavens opened during Peking Duk’s set and continued long into the night. Pretty soon Bay Dreams had become Wet Dreams with only a few forecast-checking people donning a $2 poncho in an attempt to stay dry.

But for the hardcore festie fans, this did nothing to dampen spirits as they continued to rage on during Shapeshifter’s epic set despite the heavy falls. 

It appeared a number of guys had decided paper T-shirts would be a good idea that day, as by the end of the night ¾ of the male population were shirtless and frolicking around in the rain.

But if the persistent rain was wreaking havoc on your weave, the indoor Arena stage (Castaway Bay) was the perfecting setting to host the unmissable Grandmaster Flash.  Meanwhile, Denmark DJ Kölsch had everyone cutting shapes as the final act of the night at the V Pure (V Lighthouse) stage.

Hyped up, soaked, and starving, our night ended with a visit to Tiki Town, where endless food options included pizza, churros, dumplings, pies, burgers, hotdogs, roast, ribs, fires, ice cream and a classic kiwi hangi, to soak up all the damage done.  

Probably the best way to kick off 2017, Bay Dreams was a Wet Dream come true, and we’re already getting pumped up about the 2018 instalment. If this year was anything to go by it will be bigger, better, and, hopefully, dryer.

Don’t be one of the unlucky ones next time round and jump on tickets as soon as they’re released – as we have no doubt Bay Dreams will continue to sell out year after year.

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Photo credit: Bay Dreams Instagram