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Niagara Falls Bluegrass & Roots Festival

Bring out the banjos, fetch the fiddles, mandolins and string bass.

It’s time to sit back, relax and soak up the atmosphere at the Niagara Falls Bluegrass & Roots Festival.

Every February musicians from throughout New Zealand converge at the picturesque Niagara Falls Café in the heart of the wild and beautiful Catlins for a weekend of toe-tapping goodness.

The festival venue is idyllically situated 10km from Curio Bay, along the Southern Scenic Route at Niagara, allowing you to roll back the shoulders and indulge your soul in everything from bluegrass to roots.

Next event date: TBC 2025
Location: The Catlins
Keen to learn more: niagarafallscafe.co.nz

Bluegrass is a broad church with festival line-ups including top musicians and bands from Southland and throughout New Zealand. You’ll be served up a feast of neo-traditional country, alt-country and Americana as honest and heartfelt as the days are long and the nights are full of dancing.

The festival is more than likely the southernmost bluegrass festival in the world, and the only one of its kind in the country, but that’s not even half the story of why this homegrown favourite is an essential to-do.

It’s a truly family-focused event that has something for everyone – from food stalls, a mouth-watering selection of beers and wines, children’s entertainment, and camping spots aplenty.
Dive inside for a café experience you won’t forget as the Niagara team celebrate local, hand-picked, laid and grown produce, alongside the finest Southland seafood, including sumptuous Stewart Island salmon.

Outside the Bluegrass musicians take centre stage from midday Saturday ‘til late Sunday with people coming from around the region and further afield listening, dancing and generally replenishing their spirits. 

But don’t just take our word for it - the festival gets some pretty spot-on reviews too: “A great wee festival in a fantastic location!”  

Taking its name from the nearby Waikawa River waterfall, Niagara Falls Café's buildings have been part of the landscape since 1895. Originally a schoolhouse, the large wooden building originally provided the young settlement with an education for local sawmillers' and farmers' children.

The village itself obtained its name from a humorously-inclined surveyor, drawing a comparison with its namesake falls in North America. The Catlins version, though similar in aspect to its 53m stateside cousin, drops a mere metre.

You’ll revel amid the unspoilt, bush-clad, craggy coastal Catlins charm where flora and fauna mingle as nature intended. Stress melts away as the summer sun shines on the festival stage. 

While you’re down our way, why not go with the flow and experience a few more of our chilled-out spots. The bluegrass festival is your passport to fantastic food, fascinating heritage and the endless opportunities of the open road around the fabulous Southland region.

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