NZ's first bloke Gayford revives DJ career

Ben McKay
·2-min read

New Zealand music festival Splore is featuring a surprise DJ act on this summer's festival lineup, Kiwi first bloke Clarke Gayford.

With COVID-19 restrictions at a minimum after containing the deadly virus, New Zealand is free to host major events over summer.

That includes music festivals like Splore, a multi-day live-in festival in Tapapakanga Regional Park, an idyllic beach location an hour's drive from Auckland.

Mr Gayford - partner of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - has decided the festival is the right time and place to get back behind the decks after a few years away.

The 44-year-old is well-known for his music in New Zealand, previously hosting a show on electronic music station George FM.

He's played gigs on iconic party island Ibiza and music festivals including the Big Day Out.

Splore festival director John Minty told AAP he was delighted to welcome Mr Gayford back to the festival scene.

"Clarke's played Splore before and he came with Jacinda three or four years ago ... he's quite a regular over the years," he said.

"He has great taste in music, eclectic with plenty of surprises. And it's very danceable. He brings a nice charisma to the stage and that's why we're putting him on the roster."

Mr Gayford said "when the timing feels right, it feels right" to return to DJ-ing duty.

"After the year we've just had who doesn't want to escape a bit of the madness?" Mr Gayford said.

"I couldn't think of a better place in the world to be than at the magic that is Splore."

Ms Ardern is no stranger to DJing herself, most recently performing at Laneway Festival in 2014.

Festival organisers have been forced to kill a developing rumour that the popular PM would be also appearing on stage after promising a "surprise female act" alongside headliners Shapeshifter.

"I can quash that one. We do have a special female guest who's a singer but it isn't Jacinda," Mr Minty said.

"Though she is most welcome to come with Neve. It's a family-friendly festival."

Mr Minty said the major feature of this year's already sold-out event was a commitment to female acts among an all-local line-up.

Splore's main stage will feature only female performers or acts featuring female artists.

"We've always had a very diverse lineup but going 100 per cent local-based this year I thought we would make a bit of a statement," Mr Minty said.

The few overseas-based performers, such as DJ Stefaan van Leuven of Belgian band Soulwax, were incidental.

"He's living down here at the moment or got stuck and he put his hand up so we said 'sure we'll find a spot for you'," Mr Minty said.