At least seven drum and bass/electronic DJs have landed in New Zealand this month after summer festival organisers got together and secured them MIQ spots.
When Hidden Valley shared an international lineup announcement to social media three weeks ago, some Kiwis were quick to take offence at the limited November/December MIQ spots being allocated to these musicians.
“Interesting that you guys can get six acts, plus all their support staff into the country, but thousands of New Zealanders still can’t get home? Priorities eh?!” one person wrote.
“Any chance you can confirm MIQ for me too? Been trying for months to get home through the lottery, looks like you have an in,” said another.
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Others questioned whether places were set aside for the events industry: “Unbelievable that they all got lucky in the MIQ lottery!! Or were spaces set aside for them?”
Hotly-contested MIQ spots for November and December sold out in 67 minutes, as 26,000 or more New Zealanders abroad fought for just 3000 spots to return to the country.
Fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens and residents returning from Australia are supposed to be able to bypass MIQ and self-isolate for seven days starting from January 17, the Government announced last month. But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated the start date for letting returnees skip managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) may be in jeopardy due to the Omicron variant.
Stuff readers were upset that their own family couldn’t get in, but these famous people had managed to.
All areas in the red Covid traffic light regions, excluding Northland, will move into orange from 11.59pm on December 30.
“For Kiwis stuck overseas, it was already hard enough to understand how sports teams and athletes have been allowed to come and go with relative ease,” said Iain Hutton.
“Letting non-Kiwi DJs into NZ while many wait stranded just before Christmas seems like absolute insult.”
“Meanwhile, Kiwis stranded overseas still can’t get in. My kids’ fully vaccinated grandparents from Canada can’t get in!” said Simon English.
”I cannot even begin or even find the words to describe how disgusted I am at seeing this,” commented Rob Good.
“There is no possible reason why these people are being permitted entry ahead of NZ citizens and residents. A surgeon with skills that no one else has, I can understand, but a DJ? Seriously.”
But Reuben Rivers-Smith, director of Hidden Valley, said he and the organisers of Northern Bass, Rhythm & Vines/Rhythm & Alps, and Gold Rush festivals had worked together to make sure they secured the spots out of the thousands released each month.
“We got no special favours from MIQ, I tell you that,” he said.
“We’ve put in a lot of hard yards to get to this point. We did what everyone else did, and sat in the lobby and waited for rooms.”
Getting each individual artist across the boundary line took four or five months, he said.
Pulling off the festivals, which are now being re-organised from scratch since the prime minister announced that every region, bar Northland, will be moving to the ‘orange’ step of the Covid Protection Framework on December 31st, is no mean feat.
“This is the first year there has been communication between different festivals about trying to get those artists in,” continued Rivers-Smith.
The rolling lockdowns have been an “absolute roller-coaster of emotions” for the embattled events industry.
“We genuinely didn’t think we’d be able to get the talent and put on shows this year.
“The response from attendees (to the rescheduled festival date) has been overwhelmingly positive”, he concluded. “This will be the cherry on top of a s… year.”
In a statement posted to Facebook yesterday, Northern Bass oragnisers said: “We have been working on this year’s festival for over a year, with the first acts booked in October 2020.”
Who is here:
Dominic Matheson (Dom Dolla) is an Australian house music producer. He has been nominated twice for the ARIA Award for Best Dance Release; in 2017 for Be Randy, with Torren Foot and in 2019, for the song Take It.
His flight landed in NZ today, and he’s set to play Rhythm and Alps on New Year’s Eve, then Hidden Valley.
Kiwi festival season regular Kanine is a drum and bass DJ and producer from London known for tracks like Your Love and Want You.
“Hyped to be on my way back,” he wrote en route to Auckland, where he’s due to play at Hidden Valley, before travelling to the South Island for sister festival Hidden Lakes.
Ed Keeley (Friction) is a drum and bass producer and DJ from Brighton. The former BBC presenter runs his own record labels, and is due to play at Hidden Valley.
He arrived at an MIQ hotel in Rotorua yesterday, and commented on a Hidden Valley announcement post: “Yesssssss. So ready for this.”
Kallum Brookes (aka K Motionz), playing at Gold Rush, said he “can’t wait for the NZ sunshine”.
Mollie Collins went from bedroom DJ to headliner in two years. She took home the ‘Best Female Artist’ title from the 2020 DnB Awards and completed her MIQ stay in Wellington.
Collins flew to Auckland yesterday, and appeared on George FM this morning. She is scheduled to play at Hidden Lakes, Northern Bass and Gold Rush.
Prospa are a rising electronic duo from Leeds, Harvey Blumler and Gosha Smith, who reimagine classic dance.
They’ll be at Hidden Valley and Hidden Lakes.
Oliver Jones (Skream), is an English electronic music producer based in Croydon. He shared a selfie from his Auckland-bound flight via Singapore yesterday, and is playing Hidden Valley and Hidden Lakes.
Who we haven’t heard from yet
Other UK headliners due to arrive into the country for festival season include Wilkinson, Dimension, Culture Shock, Chase & Status, and Netsky.