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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14 comments have been posted about The first Sweetwaters festival

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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!

joe gilmour

Posted: 07 Feb 2011

Could you imagine. No plastic bottles, no mobiles, no ipods. Lots of lovely ladies topless, men all with cutoff jeans. Long hair and Pot galore. I remember when the Hells Angels rolled in. Very noisy. I can't remember seeing any fights. Just 3 days of listening to great music and partying on. Brian Ferry was fantastic. An experience I will never forget.

joe gilmour

Posted: 13 Jan 2011

Yes i was there. There was about 50 of us from Stratford. One of our tents and some sleeping bags were pinched on the first nite.It was hotter than hell and impossible to keep the drinks cool. The eating stalls were very dodgy, as was the longdrops.I remember one night my friend was taking a dump and the girl in the toilet next to him caved in.She was up to her neck. Most of us had the shits by the second day. It was worth a visit the bands were fantastic. We also went to the second one.