Jamming in the Waikato region

Music lovers from all genres will want to explore Waikato New Zealand for a range of eclectic experiences. Renowned artists like Kimbra and the Datsuns first spread their artistic wings here, while venues like Raglan’s Yot Club and Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena draw acts and audiences from around the country and beyond.

Waikato Musicians

The Waikato region is the birthplace of several prominent musicians, including Grammy-award winner Kimbra. Born in Hamilton, Kimbra grew up in the Waikato before moving across the Tasman and launching her music career. Other top performers who hail from the region include Hamilton reggae band Katchafire and well-known hard rockers The Datsuns, who hail from Cambridge New Zealand. Members of the contemporary reggae band Cornerstone Roots grew up in Raglan/Whaingaroa, while singer-songwriter Anna Coddington is also from Raglan.

The Waikatohas also attracted international celebrities like Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, who have spent months at a time enjoying Raglan activities.

The YOT Club Raglan

An evening out at the YOT Club, one of New Zealand’s most exciting music venues, is one of the top things to do in Raglan. In the summer, Sunday sessions are held outdoors, attracting up to 600 people at a time with an emphasis on original music that caters to both local, national and international acts.

Since opening their doors at the end of 2007, the YOT Club has hosted some of the country’s hottest musical acts, including artists like Tiki Taane and Hollie Smith. Other recent acts include Amsterdam three-piece band My Baby, German-born record producer and DJ Ian Pooley, Jamaican reggae and dancehall singer Johnny Osbourne, and Basshunter, a Swedish singer-songwriter, record producer and DJ. All of which makes it a popular Waikato venue both with the local community and visitors from around New Zealand and abroad.

Claudelands Arena

Visit Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena, which has hosted international acts as diverse as Bob Dylan, Ricky Martin, Slash, the Harlem Globetrotters and Billy Connelly.

Renowned retro acts such as Kenny Rogers, the Hollies, and The Seekers have found a sizable audience following, while family shows such as Disney on Ice, Ice Age and The Wiggles have also been popular events to brace Claudelands Arena

Hamilton also has a number of bars, pubs and clubs that offer live music, including Diggers Bar, Little George Bar and Danny Doolans.

Music Festivals

Soundsplash Music Festival NZ

Festival One is a multi-day music extravaganza held at Mystery Creek, Hamilton on Auckland Anniversary Weekend. Past performers have included All Sons and Daughters, Stephen Proctor, Strahan, Aimee Mai and more. Another of the more popular Waikato attractions for music lovers is the Hamilton Gardens Arts festival, which is steadily growing in popularity and has played a big part in Waikato New Zealand’s cultural growth. Held in February, this open-air summer festival combines visual arts, music, comedy, film, theatre, literature, and dance events.

Other music-based Waikato tourist attractions include the Soundsplash Music Festival Raglan, which bills itself as a festival of music, freedom and expression. Each January, music lovers from around the Waikato and beyond travel to Raglan to hear top NZ musicians perform during the three-day event.