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Bay orchard tuning up for Summerbend music festival – Saturday, January 31

Organisers of an inaugural Hawke’s Bay festival have their finger firmly on the pulse of New Zealand’s music scene.

El Nino and Ruffhouse have combined their experiences of performing and attending Kiwi music events such as Gisborne’s Rhythm & Vines to create something different.

The result is Summerbend, a gathering of underground musicians from throughout the country across a range of genres – hip hop, drum & bass, house, dubstep, reggae, alternative/indie rock and acoustic.

Set on an orchard in Maraekakaho just 20 minutes drive from Hastings, festival goers can set up camp and cool off in a stream, complete with swimming hole on January 31.

“We have been doing gigs in Wellington for three years and they have been going really well,” event promoter Jesse Hunter said.

“We have always had an idea of doing this thing in Hawke’s Bay, going to R&V as we were growing up was an inspiration and we had an awesome location in mind.”

Headlining is Auckland artist Raiza Biza, whose recent achievements include sets at Rhythm and Alps and Northern Bass 2014.

The rapper’s reflective and introspective lyrics are accompanied by soulful jazz-influenced instrumentals. Biza’s story is one of a young immigrant trying to find his place in a new land.

His latest release Dream Something features a range of subject matter. It also serves as a showcase for some of New Zealand’s most talented producers.

DJ Jay Knight will perform alongside Biza, bringing his own experience honed by hours spent working closely with the likes of Scribe, @peace, Spycc and Third3ye members on a new album.

Other artists include Siamese Chirades – a recognised acoustic duo with proven talent and DJ group The Ruffhouse crew who found success on Wellington’s club scene.

The Crew not only perform but dedicate much of their time to bringing underground music to the forefront of New Zealand’s nightclub scene. Leading in drum & bass, dubstep and house music, they have played and hosted a number of sell-out gigs.

Hotboxed Treehut will bring a fresh, reggae vibe with a melting pot of cultures fused with elements of hip-hop r&b and rock. Half of the seven-piece roots ensemble hail from Hawke’s Bay and are stopping off as part of a wider North Island tour.

Summerbend caters to people from 18 to 30 and has the makings of a successful annual event, but they won’t accept any trouble-makers with security a top priority after the riots at BW campground in Gisborne on New Year’s Eve.

“We will have fairy lights in the trees and a stream running through the venue, this is the first festival we have done so there’s a lot to think about, but we have it covered.”