Luminate: The Coolest Festival in the Southern Hemisphere

Written by: Adam Alloy
Photo Credit: Luminate Festival Facebook

Luminate is the coolest place to be in the Southern Hemisphere this festival season. The 8-day long experimental extravaganza takes place in Golden Bay, New Zealand – arguably the most beautiful part of the lush and fertile country. There are so many things that make this biannual festival special – from the gorgeous land it’s held on to the ecological ethos behind the festival to the fact that it’s ALCOHOL-FREE. Here are the Kiwi acts not to miss this year, with a few international gems tossed in.

Zuke/Ed Zuccollo

Ed Zuccollo is performing two different solo projects at what could be New Zealand’s most prestigious festival. This is a testament to the musical skill of the classically trained jazz pianist turned producer extraordinaire. As a keyboardist, he’s played with many of New Zealand’s best musicians, including Tyson Smith (also at Luminate).

With his Zuke project, he explores the endless depths of bass that a top of the line sound system can summon. Zuke is a jungle revival project aimed at shaking the very bones out of people’s bodies as they groove on the dancefloor. Under his self titled Ed Zuccollo set he’ll be playing more of the ambient, jazz inspired synthesizer he built his reputation on. Expect to be transported to another world with the soundscapes he creates, interspersed with his trademarked lovely banter. You can tell from the way he talks that Ed is just such a nice person.

Desert Dwellers

Desert Dwellers are Luminate’s serious powerhouse international headliner. Lighting up the Lunasa Stage, the pioneering duo is the perfect sonic match for the sacred geometry planning that underpins the festival. Desert Dwellers music is a bridge between the knowledge and tradition of our ancient past and the technology and progress of our modern world. With twenty years of innovation and performance under their belts, Desert Dwellers have been instrumental in drawing tribal sounds into modern electronic music. They combined influences from across space and time into their downtempo and tribal bass. Their live show often includes aerialists and thrilling fire performance, so who knows what they have in store for Luminate.  Here’s their set from the last Luminate, two years ago.

Amanita Muscaria

Following up her much anticipated performance at Twisted Frequency, one of New Zealand’s premier NYE festivals, Amanita Muscaria promises to deliver one of the best sets of Luminate. Her production is as fresh and cool as a drink of Makarora river water. Her trance is progressive and ever-evolving, a cochlear orchestration of eclectic and unusual dream sounds from around the world. Keep an eye on Amanita Muscaria, this is one Kiwi not to forget. 

Mamadafunk & Joka

Mamadafunk is an up and comer in New Zealand electronic music, playing her brand of Downtempo music at festivals and clubs across the country. She will be playing at the chill longue for when festival goers want more laid back, groovy sounds. Mama is teaming up with the sensational saxophonist Joka to make the live performance fully dynamic. Joka is famous for accompanying Wellington DJs with passionate, sensual saxophone that melts people’s hearts. Originally from France, he has made a name for himself in a very short time.

Matiu Te Huki with My Golden Soul

Matiu Te Huki is a powerful Maori musician who sings with the fierce passion of the native islanders. His music draws on the influence of Maori music and the beautiful haka, blending it with modern technology like looping and funk techniques to make jams that will get everyone moving. Some of his songs sound straight out of a Quentin Tarantino movie, others sound untouched by modern society. 

Ticket Information

Do not miss Luminate Festival, it only happens once every two years! Buy your tickets here

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