The first Sweetwaters festival

A scene from the first Sweetwaters festival, which was held from 26 to 28 January 1980 near Ngāruawāhia. Unlike the venue for many music festivals, the site was not a natural amphitheatre.

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19 comments have been posted about The first Sweetwaters festival

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Neil finn

Posted: 18 Aug 2021

A mate and i attended this event spending all our money on alcohol
And didnt think about where to sleep ended up sleeping under our little morry minor withh just oud heads sticki g out the back


Posted: 22 Jul 2020

That scene is exactly as I remember it.
I was 18 and we had all driven up from Dunedin.
My boyfriend was in the Netherworld Dancing Toys. It was almost one of the first performances they did.
Exciting days.
It was Hot, and dusty— lots of police presence and the air was thick with pot.
I do remember that someone had drowned in a river on the property ....I think it was due to alcohol.
Was an awesome festival and we could move around to different stages during that time as many bands were playing there.


Posted: 16 May 2020

I was there with mu older brother and his wife at the age of 17 years fell asleep on the hill listening to Mi Sex whatta blast that was!


Posted: 20 Apr 2020

Rode up from Wellington after work (CPC Databank) on my Kawasaki H2 750 ........there was a place just for bikes so left it there and went looking for my friends. Somehow I found them ....pitched my tent in the dark and hardly slept at all for the next two or three days....wonderful times


Posted: 13 Apr 2020

Traveled up from Stratford with mates, just 16yrs old not knowing what to expected, not much money, drinks, or dope but found 60 dollars and had a blast, always remember up front of stage when the Angles were on and one of the guitarist was hit in the head with a piece of watermelon, the guy never missed a beat and kept on playing. The best of times were had at Sweetwaters..


Posted: 21 Jan 2020

Came up from Wellington in a Renault dofine (850cc) with two girls me lying across the back seat, I was 17, mind blowing music great people a party like no other took hours just to get to the stage, never forget it


Posted: 16 Aug 2018

Best time of my life. I was 20 great group of friends 6 of us in was awesome not that I remember all of it !!! Do remember bathing in the great waikato river after the second day and how bad the long drops smelt lol..oh and all the mud but I've never had so much fun and great memories made..2 of those beautiful people I was with have sadly passed..way before their time..hope your both rocking on to your own sweet waters up there my dear one else knows our good times .....


Posted: 28 Nov 2017

82 & 83.... A bunch of Airforce Guys (5) from Auckland... first time was just in cars and we meet up gradually with about 10 AF others over the weekend - 3days.. atmosphere was so cool.. police were friendly. Smell of ... in the air did not make them investigate . Took 20 x 20 double browns 500 ml.. Almost finished them between 5 of us. beautiful sites ... ladies ..... Music was great. I rolled down the hill accidentally to the song .. I see red I see red... and bounced up onto to my feet like boom !!! as if nothing happened ... but alas no .. cheers and claps from all around.. Ultravox with the swinging light bulb.... Got lost coming back from stage . woke up 20 metres away from our camp when sun came up... 83 ... left a day ealier and will stay a day longer - 5 days. We had it sorted - Ha ha .... A mates old truck partially converted to sleeper.. travel down SH 1 - 6 hours from AK- had to keep refilling radiator. chilly bins full. A beauty topless on a horse. Blew up a Hydrogen balloon approx 1 metre in diameter- ex military for spotting liferafts . Blew up in my face - couldnt see for the rest of the day. stung like sh....t. mates blew up the second one - success. sat on roof of truck scoring the fine ladies.... Oh Yes Great music once again....

john pitihira

Posted: 28 May 2017

The best concerts ever, Split Enz were world class, loved Renee Geyer, UB40 always good value x2, Simple Minds playing Waterfront, Annie Lennox got every1 rockn, never forget Talking Heads Burning down the House, accompanied by a fireworks display. Think I went to them all.Massive...

Doreen Poupouare

Posted: 22 Dec 2014

far out I just posted a status on my fb page with some pics...was reminiscing cause I been doing a few gigs in the last cple of years and so dug out the pics I took at this one and posted them on my page....but this was my first ever gig, I was 18 and I had a Blast!!!!!!