The first Sweetwaters festival

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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23 comments have been posted about The first Sweetwaters festival

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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!!!!!!


Posted: 29 Jun 2014

I was there as a 17 year old. There were three of us that went down in my mini. We got two flat tyres on the way from Auckland. One of the guys had to hitch-hike to Huntly to get one of them fixed. Haha!!

We brought no food because we didn't know there were no pass-outs. We had 6 cans of Double Brown between the three of us. There were lots of generous people that shared with us. Such good times!

I loved all the bands. Especially Split Enz, Mi Sex, Roxy Music, Ultravox, Cold Chisel and Icehouse (who were then called Flowers.)

I remember the guy that fell in the long drop too. Yuck!


Posted: 13 Apr 2014

Was the best time! Bro & I got dropped outa town by mum to hitchihike from outa New Plymouth. That was cool, we were 16/17 yrs old!. Got a fab lift from truckie dropped us at corner of road leading 2 Sweet waters. ngarawahia? Then got picked up by old bloke (prob 30!) who set us up in his camp, with food & kept eye on us younguns. No dramas. Thanks bud if yre out there. Was muddy as but had a fab time. Those were the days! The fun had almost ways out the music....sooooo long ago!

John Blackwell

Posted: 02 Nov 2013

Attended the first two Sweetwaters concerts. Like Woodstock Kiwi style. Saw Roxy Music, Ultravox, Inxs, Talking heads,and many more bands.Split Enz? Angels? All a bit fuzzy now as I was wasted most of the time.

Brenda Beardshall

Posted: 12 Jul 2013

Sweet waters yeah ... 2 magical summers. It began my life long love affair with music. I remember the guy falling in the long-drop it was towards the end of the weekend poor guy. Highlights sitting on top of the hill listening to Hello Sailor play Blue Lady (thought at the time it was about some sad pale woman lol ) Remember the Hells Angels and vaguely recall one incident where one of the guys started to push some guy around it was getting heavy and the people around erupted in such a united front of "not here" and "don't be uncool" that it stopped straight away was very cool. Remember the sexy mud fights in the river and a group coming down on a big log singing 'brick in the wall' by Pink Floyd. Great memories Sweet Days, Sweet summer Water days.

Glen Cassidy

Posted: 17 Apr 2013

Yeah I went 3 times I can remember you could follow the beer cans from Hamilton Double Brown I remember Talking Heads Simple Minds Brian Ferry Elvis Costello Split Enze 3 DAYS OF Awesome I had my first trip there Good ol Days


Posted: 14 Mar 2013

I was there as a 17 year old. A group of us drove up from Napier in a Vauxhall Velox which only had 2nd and 3rd gears, no reverse or 1st. We couldn't keep the beer (Fosters) cold either, and most of it got stolen. I got the shits as well from eating at a place called 'Decent Feed' I remember a guy in the longdrop who had fallen in too! The bands were amazing!