Auckland Arts Festival – Festival Playground Line-Up

With Auckland Arts Festival 2018, comes a brand new precinct for music, art, food and family fun. The Festival Playground at Silo Park heralds a fresh chapter in the 15-year history of Auckland Arts Festival.

The waterfront is where Auckland comes out to play and in March 2018 it will house an adventurous line-up of eclectic music and free activities.

It is for this reason, Artistic Director Jonathan Bielski chose to make this vibrant section of central Auckland the Festival’s 2018 hub.

In its short life, Silo Park and Wynyard Quarter have become a favourite Auckland hangout, synonymous with great food, music, movies and family events. We believe it captures the celebratory spirit of the Festival, and Auckland’s general enthusiasm for Summer and the outdoors, and we wanted to see the Festival come to life down there in a much bigger way.

With Angus Muir, who is well known for creating extraordinary outdoor spaces, on board to design the Playground and the mesmerising House of Mirrors capturing people’s gaze, the Festival Playground will be unlike anything Auckland has experienced to date,” Bielski says.

Award-winning designer Angus Muir will create an immersive environment within the Silo Park area, responding to the idea of play.

At the heart of the Festival Playground is quite possibly the coolest mirror maze in the world. The enormous House of Mirrors, created by Australian designers Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, will amaze everyone from wide-eyed youngsters to thrill seekers, wanderers, selfie takers and ā€˜Grammers.

Bringing it all together will be the Festival Playground’s Music Arena with a thrilling and diverse line up, outlined below.

 King Krule

He may only be 23, but Archy Marshall, aka King Krule, who hails from London, already has the makings of an iconoclast.

With a willingness to experiment and cross-pollinate genres, Marshall is redefining what it means to make punk music or soul, R&B, jazz, hip hop, darkwave, slacker beat poetry, or indie rock, for that matter.

His guitar playing and distinctive baritone voice add layers to his cult underground status, forged, along with his undisputed creative genius, with the critically acclaimed, statement-making debut album 6 Feet Beneath the Moon.

After performing here in 2014, King Krule returns to New Zealand for his first headline show, joining the Festival Playground line-up for his Auckland Arts Festival debut with songs from his latest album, The Ooz.

Eru Dangerspiel

Eru Dangerspiel is the stuff of legend. An epic gig in Auckland’s Town Hall in 2009 is still fondly remembered by fans and musicians alike.

Maestro Riki Gooch will bring his creative genius and his large-scale super-group the Festival Playground for one night only.

Inspired by the heavy disco of Hamilton Bohannon and other early psychedelic/poly-futurist musical movements, the event features Mara TK, Laughton Kora, Ria Hall, Anna Coddington, Mike Fabulous, Joe Lindsay, Jonathan Crayford, Chip Matthews, Julien Dyne, David Long, Toby Laing, Nathan Haines, Lewis McCallum, Brent Parks, Ned Ngatae, Patrick Pihama, Submariner, Scott Towers and Miguel Fuentes.

Neil Finn – Out of Silence

With Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra & Special Guests

From his beginnings with Split Enz, through to his leadership of Crowded House and in his distinguished solo career, iconic New Zealand singer songwriter Neil Finn has consistently gifted the world with great music.

Finn’s acclaimed new album, Out of Silence, was recorded over a four-hour session in his Auckland studio with the help of an extended family of local luminaries, and livestreamed to the world.

Auckland Arts Festival is thrilled to host the world premiere of Finn’s live presentation of the album, with arrangements by Victoria Kelly and performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and a who’s who of special guests.

Emily King / Tank and The Bangas / Teeks

An Auckland Arts Festival favourite, New York native Emily King will help christen the Festival Playground Music Arena.

A Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer-songwriter who has collaborated with NAS, Lupe Fiasco, Alicia Keys and John Legend, King channels her roots, pop, soul and indie influences through carefully crafted compositions and lush, polished vocals.

With her, New Orleans phenomenon Tank and The Bangas bring their swagalicious, gumbo-flavoured grooves for the first time in New Zealand. A viral sensation after winning NPR’s famed Tiny Desk Concert competition, this pint-sized, bright-eyed funk-and-soul group mash together rap, spoken word, R&B and folk into a glorious, infectious and utterly distinctive sound.

Soul singer Teeks is unequivocally one of Aotearoa’s brightest stars. With awards and nominations galore, his debut EP, The Grapefruit Skies, heralds the arrival of a talent whose incredible voice will give you goosebumps (Paperboy).

Lee Fields & The Expressions

Jack Broadbent

There aren’t too many artists still producing soul music today who had a release in 1969. Lee Fields, however, is one such phenomenon and what’s extraordinary is that the music he’s making today is some of the best of his career.

For almost half a century, the North Carolina native has amassed a prolific catalogue of albums and has toured with such legends as Kool & the Gang, Sammy Gordon & the Hip-Huggers and O.V. Wright. Performing tracks from his most triumphant album yet, Special Nights, backed by The Expressions, Fields’ raucous-yet-tender voice will ring out at the Festival Playground.

Hailed as ‘the real thang’ by the legendary Bootsy Collins, Jack Broadbent routinely wows audiences with his unique blend of virtuosic slide guitar and poignant folk and blues-inspired vocals. He has performed worldwide with artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Hallyday, and has three full-length albums under his belt. As an authentic blues musician, he brings a warmth, humour and energy to his performances, as well as a deep connection to his musical influences in, amongst others, John Lee Hooker, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.


Sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the legendary Ravi Shankar, will perform her spellbinding and magnetic album Land of Gold live.

A singular figure in the Indian classical and progressive world-music scenes, Anoushka Shankar brings a deep relationship with tradition through her father and guru, the late great Ravi Shankar. Her adventurous approach as a composer spans electronica, classical music and flamenco and she has collaborated with the worldā€™s great orchestras and artists as diverse as Sting, M.I.A and Herbie Hancock.

These exchanges between Indian and Western music find even greater power in Shankar’s advocacy for women’s rights and social justice, with her latest album, Land of Gold, responding to the humanitarian trauma of displaced people fleeing conflict and poverty.

Accompanied by the extraordinary percussionist and hang player Manu Delago, this will be an evening of deeply expressive music, which draws upon India’s ancient culture, while creating a dynamically intoxicating sense of the contemporary.

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra

Born on the streets of Toronto as a busking band in 2010, Canada’s only Balkan- Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk supergroup, The Lemon Bucket Orkestra, has toured the world and taken over international festivals ever since and now land in Auckland to celebrate the Festival Playground with an exuberant free concert.

Performing a tantalising mixture of musical flavours, including blues, jazz, folk and a deliciously authentic eastern European sound, this 16-piece orchestra and their larger-than-life music act will have people on their feet and dancing in this free event.

A Tribe Called Red/

Tiki Taane/ Ria Hall

Canadian DJ collective A Tribe Called Red is making an impact on the global electronic scene with a truly unique sound. Producing a lively mixture of modern hip-hop, traditional pow-wow drums and vocals, and edgy electronica, the group also operates as a champion of First Nations rights.

Dub legend, front man of Samonella Dub and record breaking solo artist, Tiki Taane is a pioneer of New Zealand the music scene. His diverse talents span not only dub-step, reggae, drum & bass, hip-hop and pop/rock, but beyond as an activist and orator. Tiki brings his charismatic live performance to the Festival Playground along with the kapa haka group, Te Pou o Mangatawhiri.

A blazing force in New Zealand music, Ria Hall is freethinking, edgy and unapologetic. With a brand new album that fuses her powerhouse voice amidst rich textural landscapes and multiple genres, Ria has collaborated extensively with a diverse range of artists, including Fly My Pretties, Tiki Taane and Electric Wire Hustle.

Sonic Silos

Silo 6, a collection of six adjoined silos, sits boldly within the Festival Playground at Silo Park. Cavernous and resonant, they are a fascinating acoustic space to explore art and sound.

Sonic Silos invites leading groups of sound innovators to respond to this unique setting. In 2018, the line-up includes Jonathan Crayford and Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir.

Whānau Day

Nau mai, haere mai ki te rā hei whakanuia te whānau kei te Papatākaro Ahurei!  Come and celebrate Whānau Day with us at the Festival Playground!

 The last day of the Festival is full of free live music and family-friendly fun. Learn how to make and play your own koauau in our taonga pÅ«oro workshop, listen to Anika Moa as she chop-chops her way through a raucous set of her award-winning songs, and dance into the night with the spectacular Bombay Royale. Say a fond farewell to the Auckland Arts Festival for another year with great food and all the whānau.