“It's gonna be a party” 20,000 swarm to Tauranga for One Love

By Jessica Tyson

Thousands of people around the country are on their way to Tauranga today, for one of the world's biggest reggae festivals, One Love.

Organiser Pato Alvarez says each year it gets bigger and better so festival-goers are in for an epic weekend.  

“I know that you're gonna love it and support it and this year the production of the stage. It's gonna be incredible. We've got fireworks coming out the roof it's gonna be a party.”

Contractors and behind the scenes staff have been working all week to set up the venue.

Alvarez says there’s more than 300 members of security, 250 bar staff, 100 people and their production team members.

“Then if we talk about bands being employed there are about three or 400 band members. So people that get together to make this event happen is around 1000 to 1200 people.”

Bands including L.A.B, Nesian Mystik, Sons of Zion, Katchafire and Jamaica's own Sean Paul are some of the lead acts.

“This year for me something special is having Sean Paul. It literally took me three years to have him here. I flew to Jamaica three years ago to try to get him and get a deal and we met up I didn't happen and I kept chasing and chasing and he finally came on through.”

Alvarez says taking care of the musicians is important and that’s why they want to come back to perform.

“We take care of the little details. It's not about you paying them the money and saying ‘Take this, take the money and go home’, it's about the experience. We welcome them with a powhiri. We give them greenstones. We talk to them about the culture.”

This year Māori artists Stan Walker and Maisey Rika are replacing performers who couldn't make it.

“She was already on my radar. I talked to her, then straight away she said yes. She said cool, let’s jump on board and make it easy. Then Stan, he's my boy. Stan was going to be backstage partying with us anyway.”

Tauranga businesses, big and small, relish this time of the year.

“We pump the economy here. I walk into the street and I see small businesses people or big business people, saying ‘Thank you, my business is doing so well” when One Love comes around and that makes me happy.”

Alvarez hopes people bring their good vibes when it starts tomorrow at midday.

“Stay safe stay hydrated it’s going to be hot. We’re going to have multiple water bars and site for them to stay safe don’t drink and drive, obviously, and come and have a good time.”