17 Jul 2018

Dunedin set to host largest Kendrick Lamar show of The Damn NZ and Oz tour

5:15 pm on 17 July 2018

Critically acclaimed hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar will kick off the New Zealand leg of his The Damn Tour in Dunedin tonight.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar Photo: supplied

About 16,000 people from across the region will converge on Forsyth Barr Stadium to watch the Pulitzer Prize-winning artist ahead of two Auckland shows later this week.

That makes it the biggest individual show in the Australia and New Zealand tour.

The city is already buzzing ahead of the shows, with a series of activities adding to the hype.

RNZ spoke to three workers, who asked to remain anonymous, who freighted Kendrick Lamar's gear from Australia to Dunedin.

"It was a full 737 so 14-and-a-half-tonne of freight and then there's another 737 with all of his entourage," one of the workers said.

Dunedin has reaped the benefits from the international names choosing to perform here - most notably the successful Ed Sheeran concerts over the Easter holiday weekend.

Mayor Dave Cull welcomed tonight's event, saying it was important to expose the community to a range of top-flight artists.

The concert brought a welcome financial boost as well, he said.

About $45 million had already been injected into the city from previous events held at the stadium, Mr Cull said.

Kendrick Lamar was a bit like a "performance poet", he said.

And his concert further cements Dunedin's status as a City of Lit, Mr Cull said.

No, not that kind of lit - It's a UNESCO City of Literature.

Mr Cull said the position helped Dunedin attract big names.

He didn't rule out a Kendrick Lamar mural popping up after the show like the Ed Sheeran, but said it would happen organically if it did.

Mr Cull declined an opportunity to showcase his rap skills, but he did have a few words for concert-goers: "Just enjoy the concert and enjoy our city."

Speaking to RNZ from Australia, Live Nation Australasia chairperson Michael Coppel said Forsyth Barr Stadium's size helped to attract the show to the city.

Having an undercover venue was a real drawcard for the region, Mr Coppel said.

It would likely be a sell out tour, but there were still some additional tickets available for the Dunedin and Auckland shows, he said.

It's unknown what economic boost The Damn tour will give to the region, but it's shaping up to be anything but humble.