Rotorua is the Kiwi City most renowned for its concentration of thermal geysers, springs and mud pools that draw in tourists by the thousands. Yet, the distinctions of New Zealand’s “Sulphur City” are many. Revered by the indigenous Maori people as their spiritual heartland and home of the spectacular Wai-O-Tapu springs, the city has been voted multiple times over the past decade as the Most Beautiful City in New Zealand. The natural beauty of the city is supplemented by its picturesque Tudor-style streetscapes a reputation for entertainment, culture and adventure that attracts pleasure-seekers like bees to honey.
The Rotorua International Stadium is one of the city’s iconic entertainment and sports venues, having hosted landmark events in NZ history such as the Air NZ and Super 14 Rugby Cups, the National League Football, the Lions Rugby Cup and even a UB40 concert. The sprawling outdoor venue has a seating capacity of almost 35,000 spectators on varied grandstands, terraces and grass banks. The craft markets, village stalls and merchandise hawkers clustering around the grounds only serves to enhance the ambience of festivity and outdoorsy fun.
As such it is the ideal candidate to host this year’s Raggamuffin festival, the international celebration of Australasian reggae, hip-hop and soul now in its fourth consecutive annual tour of Australia and New Zealand. Presented by Andrew McManus, this year’s major headline artist is none other than the multi-platinum, multi-Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Mary J Blige. The recipient of the World Music Legends Award teams up with a host of other reggae music legends and legacies guaranteed to make this year’s Raggamuffin Festival the most happening and highly-anticipated yet!
Joining Blige in the list of headlining reggae superstars for 2011 is Jamaican reggae pioneer Jimmy Cliff, whose hits Many Rivers to Cross and I Can See Clearly Now are familiar to people around the world. Also joining Raggamuffin’ s line up for the second time is fusion legend Maxi Priest, one of the only two reggae acts from Britain to make the American Billboard chart-topper and also famous for his collaborations with superstars such as UB40, Roberta Flack and Shaggy. Grammy Winner and Chart-topper Sean Paul of We Be Burnin’ and Temperature fame will also regale the crowds with his highly-anticipated club-ready dance grooves.
Bob Marley’s legendary group, the Wailers, will make their comeback debut at this year’s Raggamuffin as The Original Wailers. The group, who have sold over 400 million copies of their albums over the past 40 years, are seen as the torchbearer’s of Marley’s musical legacy and will no doubt invoke many a nostalgic tear during the festival.
Following in the footsteps of Bob Marley is his second to youngest child Ky-Mani, who will also appear in this year’s line-up. The artist augments his father’s pop-reggae legacy with his own unique urban hip hop fusion that has so far won great acclaim.
With such a line-up of the genre’s biggest musical geniuses set to appear on one platform, this year’s festival is set to eclipse all records of success to date. Combined with 10 more red-hot stage bands, DJs, VJs and buskers to set the atmosphere, Raggamuffin 2011 is a must-not-miss for music aficionados the world over!
Reggae fans flocking into the city to get in on the action during the festival may find themselves stumped when it comes to choosing a hotel in Rotorua from among the myriad of selections. The Millennium Hotel Rotorua is well-recommended four star Rotorua hotel, being part of an internationally recognized hospitality brand, ideally located on the outskirts of the CBD overlooking the beautiful Lake Rotorua.