Story: Arts festivals

Sweetwaters festival, Ngāruawāhia

Sweetwaters festival, Ngāruawāhia

This idyllic poster advertises the Sweetwaters festival of 1981. Sweetwaters plugged the music festival gap in 1980, when the Nambassa organisers decided not to hold an event. Sweetwaters and Nambassa went head to head on the same weekend in 1981, with Sweetwaters being far more successful. Split Enz and Roxy Music headlined the festival, with other acts including Australian and Kiwi bands like Cold Chisel, Mi-Sex, the Screaming Meemees and INXS. Sweetwaters was held each year from 1980 to 1984, with an attempted resurrection in 1999. 

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Eph-D-MUSIC-POPULAR-1981-02
Design by Arthur Gundry

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

Courtesy of Sweetwaters Festival and Daniel Keighley

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How to cite this page:

Marguerite Hill, 'Arts festivals - Music festivals from the 1960s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 September 2022)

Story by Marguerite Hill, published 22 Oct 2014, updated 1 Aug 2016