Day one of New Zealand’s biggest reggae opened with a bang on Saturday when 20,000 people descended on the Tauranga Domain to watch some of the world’s top reggae artists.
It was a dream come true for Ohakune based band, Common Unity who opened the festival.
Lead vocalist Kayz Lucas told Te Kāea the band made plans three years ago to make the lineup.
“To have this dream come true and come to fruition has elevated our thinking in terms as to what we’re actually capable of,” he says.
Another highlight was when House of Shem took the stage performing a tribute set in honour of former member Carl Perkins who passed away last year due to bowel cancer.
The former Herbs member and founder of House of Shem appeared in photos screened on stage while sons Te Omeka and Isiah sang along to some of their top hits including Keep Rising and Thinking About You.
Later in the afternoon, thousands jammed along to the sound of 13-year-old General Fiyah who played some of his top hits as well as popular songs by Queen, including Bohemian Rhapsody.
As the sun went down Stan Walker took to the stage with an energetic performance.
He also paid tribute to his mother on stage by singing a song he wrote for her Thank You, as she watched from the side of the stage.
At the end of his set, Walker joined at least 30 others on stage to perform a haka for all of the international guests, including Kolohe Kai and Fiji.
During the haka, hundreds from the crowd joined to show their appreciation.
A major highlight of the night was when thousands jammed along to the sweet sound of Roman De Peralt’s voice from Kolohe Kai as they sung some of their top hits including Cool Down and Dream Girl.
He entertained the crowd at the end of his performance by crowd surfing sitting in a sea biscuit.
Closing the show was Fiji, who set the vibe when lead singer George Veikoso roused the crowd to join in as he sang E Papa Waiari.