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The Best New Zealand Gigs: December 29th-January 12th

Rhythm and Vines


In Partnership with McDonald’s

Stuck for gig ideas across New Zealand this summer? Don’t worry, Rolling Stone AU/NZ has got you covered. 

As soon as the sun breaks through the Land of the Long White Cloud, Kiwis really have only one thing on their mind: going to concerts and festivals.

Seeing live music with your mates often involves a classic summer road trip, whether you’re driving into Auckland CBD for a headline show at Spark Arena or trekking to the South Island for Rhythm & Alps, and summer roadie season also means Driver Tax.

Us drivers know what that means: whatever your mates are munching on while you’re behind the wheel, you crave – nay, deserve – a cut.

Luckily Macca’s has you covered with a Driver Tax Calculator so you don’t have to calculate what you’re owed yourself. Simply download the Macca’s app to work out what your passengers owe you, and you can even help them pay it with cool food deals all summer long. When you get to pick the tunes AND get the Driver Tax, it feels good to be the driver.

Before you hit the road, check out Rolling Stone AU/NZ‘s list of the best gigs taking place around New Zealand between December 29th-January 12th below.

Rhythm and Vines 2023

Friday, December 29th-Sunday, December 31st
Waiohika Estate, Gisborne

Tickets: Rhythm and Vines

New Zealand’s most renowned music festival is bring some impressive international artists to the country on the final weekend of 2023. London rap sensation Central Cee, English producer Ross From Friends, Australian party starters Peking Duk, and Welsh electronic duo Overmono will all be there, as will local stars like Foley, Jujulipps, Georgia Lines, PARK RD, and Gin Wigmore.

Rhythm and Alps 2023

Friday, December 29th-Sunday, December 31st
Cardrona Valley, Wanaka

Tickets: Rhythm and Alps 

The South Island’s premiere music festival is back for another weekend of exciting live music. This year’s lineup features established stars such as BENEE, Fat Freddy’s Drop, and Home Brew, as well as 2023 Rolling Stone Aotearoa Awards nominees 33 Below and NO CIGAR. There’s also plenty of overseas talent in the form of Ocean Alley, Ross From Friends, Peking Duk, and more. With over 50 acts performing across five stages, there should be something to suit even the fussiest music fan in your friend group.

Northern Bass 23/24

Friday, December 29th-Sunday, December 31st

Tickets: Northern Bass

If you don’t fancy the South Island for a fix of hard-hitting electronic anthems, Northern Bass has you covered just a couple of hours outside of Auckland. The festival has assembled a fine selection of local and international acts this year, including Sub Focus, Goldie, Lee Mvtthews, Melodownz, Half Queen, and JessB. From legends like Tiki Taane to rising rappers like Sxmpra, Northern Bass’s lineup has struck the right balance between the old and new.


Friday, December 29th-Sunday, December 31st
Coroglen Tavern, Coroglen

Tickets: NYE’23

The hottest NYE event in the Coromandel will take place at Coroglen Tavern across three nights of packed performances. Over the last weekend of the year, an eclectic collection of New Zealand artists and DJs will perform at the festival, including CHAII, Tiki Taane, Dillastrate, and Flamingo Pier.

Soaked Oats

Thursday, January 4th
Paisley Stage, Napier

Tickets: Under the Radar

Soaked Oats are performing a brief run of shows in January around their appearance at Nest Fest in Hawke’s Bay. Before heading to Raglan and Whitianga, the much-loved indie pop outfit will play a warm-up show in Napier, where they’ll be accompanied by fellow Nest Fest artist SUO. Expect to hear old favourited alongside new material, as they recently revealed to Rolling Stone AU/NZ.

Golden Lights Music Festival 2024

Thursday, January 4th-Friday, January 5th
Trusts Arena, Auckland

Tickets: Golden Lights

For those Aucklanders who can’t make it to any of the big summer festivals, Golden Lights is bringing a massive two-day festival to the city in early January. Sub Focus, Wilkinson, PARK RD, Half Queen, and many more will appear at Golden Lights Music Festival 2024, which is headlined by the buzzy producer and DJ Peggy Gou, who exploded into the mainstream in 2023 with her inescapable hit “(It Goes Like) Nanana”.

Drax Project Summer Run

Friday, January 5th
Butlers Reef, Ōakura

Tickets: Ticketmaster

Wellington pop rockers Drax Project are bringing Element P and AACACIA on their summer run of shows. The charismatic four-piece will be armed with songs from their recently released album, Upside, including “Atmosphere” and “Disrespect”, the latter of which featured Australian pop star Charley.

Nest Fest 2024

Friday, January 5th-Saturday, January 6th
Tomoana Showgrounds, Hastings

Tickets: Nest Fest

Music fans flock to Hawke’s Bay for Nest Fest every year for a reason. Some of New Zealand’s best up-and-coming artists will showcase their sound at the two-day event, including experimental pop singer-songwriter D.C. Maxwell, Wellington’s powerful indie rocker Vera Ellen, bubbly pop duo Foley, and thrilling Auckland rapper Jujulipps. The incredible Genesis Owusu will also be making the trip from Australia to perform at Nest Fest.

Babe Rainbow

Sunday, January 7th
East St. Hall, Auckland

Tickets: Under the Radar

Psychedelic rock favourites Babe Rainbow are bringing their relaxed beachside vibes to Auckland next month. Their exclusive East St. Hall show is one not to be missed if you have a hankering for nostalgic, ’60s-indebted psychedelic grooves. The ideal live music for a Sunday evening.

Princess Chelsea

Thursday, January 11th
Duncan Pavilion, Whanganui

Tickets: Banished Music

After winning the prestigious Taite Music Prize for her fifth album, Everything Is Going to Be Alright, earlier this year, Aotearoa’s art-pop queen, Princess Chelsea, is playing her prize-winning record in its entirety at shows around the country. Following a successful tour of North America, Princess Chelsea’s NZ album tour continues in the new year in Whanganui, before she then heads to Wellington and Paekākāriki accompanied by her wonderful backing band.

Daffodils X Wiri Donna’s Summer Sprint

Thursday, January 11th
Paisley Stage, Napier

Tickets: Under the Radar

Two rising stars of New Zealand’s music scene are coming together for a special joint tour. Indie pop band Daffodils and Auckland Live Best Independent Debut Award finalist Wiri Donna will perform together before both artists release new music in the new year. With Daffodils having previously played Laneway, Nest Fest, and Rhythm and Vines, and Wiri Donna having previously supported Fontaines D.C., The Beths, and more, expect a slick double set from the pair.